Biomass energy in sub-Saharan Africa

Hall, David O and Scrase, J Ivan (2005) Biomass energy in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Low, Pak Sum (ed.) Climate Change and Africa. Cambridge University Press, pp. 107-112. ISBN 0-521-83634-4

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Abstract

In sub-Saharan Africa available evidence suggests that biomass use for energy has increased roughly in proportion to population growth. With urbanization the biomass energy sector is becoming more commercialized, and consumption of charcoal is increasing (which leads to higher biomass consumption, given the low conversion efficiencies in most charcoal production). Localized fuel scarcity and resource degradation has occurred, but biomass scarcity has been exaggerated in the past in macro-level studies, which overlooked many non-forest sources of biomass fuel. National studies of biomass availability and use in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Botswana, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda indicate that large unused biomass resources exist, and that scarcity often leads to more efficient use and fuel-switching to other forms of biomass rather than to fossil fuels. Consumption of biomass energy in sub-Saharan Africa is not expected to fall in the near future. Therefore there is an urgent need for recognition of the opportunities and problems which dependence on biomass energy represents. The resource is large and potentially sustainable, but biomass use creates health problems and can cause environmental degradation. National and regional energy planning and policies must take into account the importance of biomass energy supply and use, and seek to modernize the sector so that problems can be minimized.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Ivan James Scrase
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:05
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 17:05
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23929
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