The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, in a statement on the limits and chances of using bioenergy, has concluded that bioenergy plays a secondary role in Germany's transition to renewable energy sources at present and this aspect is likely to remain the same in the future.
Bioenergy needs more surface area and is linked with high level of greenhouse gas emissions. Compared to other renewable sources such as solar thermal energy, wind energy and photovoltaic energy, bioenergy is more dangerous to the environment. The report proposes to find new approaches for saving energy as well as increasing energy efficiency.
A working group comprising over 20 experts compiled the statement of Leopoldina, “Bioenergy – Chances and Limits”. The group was formed in 2010. The statement provides guidance for using bioenergy, which is defined as renewable energy produced from biofuels derived from biomass or obtained from burning non-fossil plant biomass. It also outlines conditions for using bioenergy. The report describes under which conditions bioenergy can be appropriately utilized and what kinds of technologies are presently available or being created to change biomass into biofuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol. Furthermore, it presents different scientific approaches that are undertaken to produce hydrogen from water in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.
The report extends earlier reports of Leopoldina on the theme of energy: “Energy- and research-policy recommendations following the events in Fukushima” in 2011 and “Konzept für ein integriertes Energieforschungsprogramm für Deutschland” in 2009 (Concept for an Integrated Energy Research Programme for Germany in 2009).