Bioenergy Use in Austria Analysis Research Paper

The use of energy sources alternative to fossil fuels has become an essential issue in the energy industry. Research and policies are aimed at finding sustainable sources of energy that would be renewable and effective. The exhaustion of natural resources such as gas, oil, and coal leads to irreversible and destructive changes in the environment and climate of the planet. Therefore, some countries and international organizations have implemented innovative methods of energy consumption and distribution that would be based on biomass. One of such countries that pioneered in the sphere of the use of bioenergy on a national scale is Austria.

This European country has occupied a solid place of a leader in the supply of bioenergy for industrial and housekeeping needs. Since the world is now on the verge of shifting to low-carbon industries and the usage of renewable sources of energy, it is vital to learn from the Austrian experience. In this paper, the mechanisms of biomass use, particular technologies, forms of biomass, policies in Austria will be investigated to learn about the current and future of bioenergy, as well as its impact on the environment.

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Current Bioenergy Use in Austria
Austria is one of the first countries of the world that has shifted to the use of bioenergy as one of the branches of its domestic energy policy. The world now changes the economies from polluting and depleting to clean and sustainable (Hakkarainen, Hannula, & Vakkilainen, 2019). However, Austria already has a great amount of experience since it started using bioenergy in the 1990-s and has built significant baggage of technologies and strategies in this field (Bacovsky & Matschegg, 2019).

Such a broad implementation of biomass in energy production is the core of a bioeconomy strategy, which aims at sustained reduction in fossil energy use and consumption of materials produced from fossil fuels (Bioenergy: Technology of the future, 2019, para. 1). The strategic decisions made in the field of bioenergy use contribute to the achievement of the countrys goal to become a more competitive economy on the global scale (Bioenergy: Technology of the future, 2019). Thus, Austria plans both its domestic and international growth on the basis of its strengths.

It is evident that one of the main strong sides of Austria is its forest areas. The reason why the case of this country has been so successful is because 47.9 % of the countrys territory is covered with forests (Bacovsky & Matschegg, 2019). The economy of the state is based on the wood industry, which provides the materials to be used as bioenergy. The share of biomass in the consumption of energy in Austria has risen from 9% in 1990 to 17% in 2013, and the number grows each year (Bacovsky & Matschegg, 2019).

As of today, the share of biomass in the energy industry comprises 32% (Bioenergy in Austria: A factor creating added value, n. d.). Thus, the current situation in the sphere of Austrian usage of bioenergy is characterized by various technologies, forms of biomass, and national policies aimed at regulating the processes in the sphere of bioeconomy.

Forms of Biomass
Despite a great variety of existing forms of biomass that might be potentially used for the purpose of bioenergy production, naturally, Austria adheres to the ones that are vastly available and efficient. Since the country is rich in wood and has a large share of agriculture, solid, gaseous, and liquid biomass forms are used (Bioenergy: Technology of the future, 2019). Mostly, it is solid wood and wood waste that is used for heating, electricity, and cooling on both household and industrial scales (Menndez & Loredo, 2018).

Also, agricultural biomass is vastly used to produce bioenergy from food and feed crops, miscanthus, short rotation forestry, as well as such agricultural residues as straw, manure, hay, and corn cobs (Bacovsky & Matschegg, 2019). Biomass retrieved from agricultural resources is mostly used in the form of liquid energy or biofuel for transport needs.

While wood is more applicable to heating and electricity fields, agricultural residues show great potential in the transport field. Notably, biomass is the only noteworthy renewable energy source in the transport sector that is capable of providing energy on a greater scale than electric cars do (Bioenergy in Austria: A factor creating added value, n. d.). There is also a particular share of waste biomass that is used to produce energy in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner.

For sustainable and effective use of energy, it is important to invent and apply specific technological decisions. In the case of Austria, it continuously works on the development of efficient methods of producing energy from different forms of biomass. Austrian companies and researchers invent and test new approaches of energy extraction with the least negative impact on the environment (Bioenergy: Technology of the future, 2019). Wood cogeneration technology allows for that provide electricity supply on a regular basis with a (Bioenergy in Austria: A factor creating added value, n. d.).

Solid biomass is combusted and produces steam, which turns the turbines and produces electricity (Menendez & Loredo, 2018). In such a manner, the carbon dioxide emission is minimal, which ensures the efficiency of bioenergy consumption.

As for the technologies in the field of heating, Austria practices an array of energy production methods. There are such technologies as large-scale and and for industrial needs and domestic heating of citizens dwellings (Bacovsky & Matschegg, 2019). Finally, transesterification to biodiesel, hydrotreatment to HVO, ethanol fermentation, and bioethanol production are the technologies that are used to produce biofuel for transportation sphere (Bacovsky & Matschegg, 2019, p. 14). Despite such a wide range of developmental achievements, Austria pursues significant improvements and innovation in the field of bioenergy production.

Austrian Policies Concerning Bioenergy
Currently, the use of fossil fuels as an energy source is dominant in the world. However, the anticipated future of this industry demonstrates that the volumes of oil and gas reduce rapidly and endanger energy supply around the world (Cheng, 2017).

Therefore, different states, including Austria, develop strategies for an efficient shift toward renewable energy sources, bioenergy in particular. The Austrian government included renewable sources of energy as an important issue within the Austrian Climate and Energy Strategy (Bioenergy: Technology of the future, 2019). Overall, the state prioritizes the regional distribution of bioenergy production depending on the forms of biomass available in a particular area (Gingrich, Theurl, Erb, & Krausmann, 2018). Thus, the strategic planning is bound to efficient utilization of the resources.

The policies of Austria in the field of renewable energy are dictated by the overall policies of the European Union. The direction toward green and of energy is based on the significant concern of the European countries concerning the exhaustion of fossil fuels and their destructive effect on the environment (Philippidis et al., 2018). Apart from the overall countrys strategic direction at bioeconomy development, Austria pursues the implementation of bioenergy technologies under the Renewable Energies Expansion Act of 2018 that aims at increasing the share of bioenergy consumption in the state (Bioenergy: Technology of the future, 2019). These and future policies will help increase the level of bioenergy consumption in the country and share its achievements with the global community.

The Future of Bioenergy in Austria
Bioenergy is the field that provides great potential for future development. According to the strategic plans of the country for the future, it is estimated that the share of bioenergy in the total consumption of energy will rise to 35 %. Such are the obligations of Austria before the European Union requirements related to the shift to green renewables (Bioenergy in Austria: A factor creating added value, n. d.).

Also, the increase in the share of bioenergy in total energy production in the country will create more jobs and contribute to the economy. Moreover, the development in this field that is designated by the government of Austria and the policies of the European Union will enable the international exchange of experience and making a global impact. Finally, further advancement in the sphere will be significantly influenced by the potential environmental benefits.

Environmental Effects of Bioenergy Use
The intensive use of bioenergy in the industrial field provides multiple benefits for the environment. On the contrary to the use of fossil fuels, biomass produces energy in a much less harmful way. Indeed, the case of Austria and some other countries shows that large bioenergy plants are climate-friendly and do not pollute the air and water with carbon dioxide emissions (Malico, Pereira, Goncalvesa, & Sousa, 2019). Indeed, in 2013, renewable energy use in Austria reduced the carbon emissions by almost 30 million tons 13 million tons of which account for bioenergy production (Bioenergy in Austria: A factor creating added value, n. d.). Also, the use of waste and residues will benefit the environment. Finally, the reduction of fossil fuels use will contribute to environmental protection.

However, there is a downside of bioenergy consumption on a global scale.

Some scholars emphasize the need to extend the scope of research in the field of shortcomings of bioenergy use in order to eliminate such issues as crops and livestock sustainability, GHG emissions and the potential threats (Kluts, Wicke, Leemans, & Faaij, 2017). Thus, it is crucial to investigate the positive and negative effects of bioenergy on the environment in order to improve the available methods of energy production.

In the times when the world strives to decide a severe problem of finding renewable energy source that could substitute exhaustible and polluting fossil fuels, Austria organizes extensive work on the implementation of new technologies aimed at bioenergy production. The natural resources in the form of forest, wood residues, agricultural materials, and waste are vastly used to produce bioenergy for electricity, heat, cooling, and transportation. Importantly, the share of bioenergy consumption in Austria has reached 34% and continues to grow, showing the potential for broader use. The countrys government develops specific policies and works under the guidance of the European Union to meet the requirements of renewable energy sources use for environmental benefits and growth of the green economy.


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