China has recently emerged as one of the economic powerhouses of the world. Not only does this status continue to redefine what was considered to represent a somewhat “backwards” society, but plenty of employment opportunities await. This has also given rise to several interesting trends. From the growing number of Chinese classes online which cater to foreign migrants to increased international investment, the future does indeed look bright.
It is also important to mention how China has begun to capitalise upon innovative solutions in the hopes of reducing the impacts of climate change. One interesting example can be seen in the use of bioenergy as a viable substitute for traditional fossil fuels. What are some current trends to note and are there any challenges that will need to be addressed in the coming years?
Many readers will be surprised to learn that up to 80 per cent of raw biomass materials are now being used to generate power throughout China. Considering the population of this nation, it only stands to reason that such sources of energy abound. Furthermore, the implementation of biomass will help to reduce China’s reliance upon outside nations. This provides a much-needed economic boost and promises an impressive long-term return on investment (ROI).
Such a pronounced trend is at least partially due to a younger Chinese generation that has now become well aware of their role in stemming the effects of climate change. Another undeniable benefit is the simple fact that bioenergy now represents a niche employment sector; providing plenty of opportunities for those with the appropriate skill sets.
What Challenges Await?
While all of the observations outlined above are rather promising, we also need to remember that there are some downsides attributed to biomass in relation to energy production. One potential issue involves industry competition as well as to decide how the resources themselves should be allocated. Wealth distribution could also come into play considering the role that corruption may play in terms of profit margins.
As this summary highlights, another possible sticking point could instead involve operational challenges including:
- Feedstock management
- Storage issues
- Supply and demand
- High transportation costs
- A relatively new industry
Other problems such as retooling existing factories in order to support biomass energy production can be rather complicated and expensive.
So, what might the future of bioenergy in China have in store? Most experts agree that relying upon fossil fuels alone as a source of electricity is no longer a viable option. So, it stands to reason that the Chinese government is looking carefully at how biomass can be used as an alternative. Officials also appreciate that many other nations have already curtailed their use of fuels such as coal and natural gas.
The main takeaway point here is that much like any other emerging industry, bioenergy is associated with undeniable advantages as well as some logistical challenges. Still, China should be able to rise to the occasion with planning and foresight.