While the biomass industry has waxed and waned with shifting government policies and mandates over the years, a recent report from Pike Research forecasts that worldwide capital investment in biomass infrastructure will maintain steady growth during the next five years, rising from $28.2 billion annually in 2010 to $33.7 billion by 2016.
Biomass, which is currently the leading source of renewable energy worldwide, is conducive to producing a wide variety of energy products including transportation fuels, bio-derived products such as plastics and chemicals, and electricity generation.
"Biomass markets are dynamic and rapidly evolving," says Pike Research president Clint Wheelock. "While research and development initiatives are very active worldwide, the biomass industry also has many proven technologies that can exploit existing feedstock sources. These include power generation from anaerobic digestion, rapid thermal processing, combustion and gasification, and methane gas capture from municipal waste, among others."
Wheelock adds that, while the overall biomass industry has been in an investment hiatus over the past few years, several segments offer significant opportunity for growth. Pike Researchs analysis indicates that the biofuels sector will continue to lag behind bioenergy and bioproducts until second- and third-generation cellulosic technologies are available on a commercial scale, which is estimated to be two to three years away. The biochemical and bioenergy sectors will progress much faster than biofuels during the firms five-year forecast period.