Technologies for Flexible Bioenergy, 2021

Aug 2021

The increasing share of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic systems and wind turbines, of which electricity production depends on weather conditions, leads to a need for more flexibility and controllability of other energy sources, energy carriers and energy storage devices. This report highlights a number of technologies which make the inherent flexibility of sustainable bioenergy usable. Technologies are categorized into three dimensions: (i) positive ancillary services, (ii) negative ancillary services, and (iii) long term flexibility. A concise overview of the technical possibilities is presented in the base report, while in the appendix more detailed information on individual flexible bioenergy technologies including references is given.

The network of flexible technologies in biomass related energy conversions.

With the further increasing share of variable renewables like PV and wind in the energy system, the flexibility of bioenergy will become more and more necessary and therefore more valuable. Especially the upcoming hydrogen strategies in several countries will open many new options for synergies, as can be seen from the multiple options to include renewable hydrogen in bioenergy value chains. Also the new IEA energy outlook shows the substantial role for flexible bioenergy expected in the future. The broad use of bioenergy flexibility, i.e. positive and negative ancillary services for the electricity grid and options for storage and transport within existing infrastructure, will depend on a suitable market design and for some period also support schemes to anticipate for upcoming higher flexibility needs in the energy system and to allow the stakeholders to decide for the better investments.

Technologies for Flexible Bioenergy