Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is a global forum to encourage and initiate programmes that speed up the development of clean energy technologies, to share lessons learned and to promote the global transition towards a clean energy economy. CEM was established at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference of parties (COP) in Copenhagen in 2009.
The Bio-Energy Working Group is an initiative under the CEM which is expected to accelerate the implementation of bio-energy technologies. This working group will initially focus on a global bio-energy atlas and a long-term strategy for long term joint capacity building. The bio-energy atlas is important because it will identify initiatives encouraging new uses of biomass in sustainable and efficient ways and will evaluate the local production potential of biomass with low-cost technologies (CEM, 2011b). Bio-energy developments are also relevant for the pulp and paper industry because the main energy and raw material supplies here are drawn from biomass. According to IEA (2007a), the pulp and paper industry generates 50% of its own energy requirements from biomass residues. The industry could become a clean energy supplier in the long term if the biomass residues were utilised efficiently for energy generation. IEA (2008a) reports that efficient use of biomass will have a significant impact on the paper and pulp industry as it can lower the CO2 intensity of energy use.
The Bio-Energy Working Group has also been involved in ethanol research, aiming to enhance the efficiency of ethanol utilisation and to improve the raw material and its supply for ethanol production. Other areas of focus include electric energy cogeneration using biomass, biodiesel research, feasibility studies and economic analyses (CEM, 2011c). Research in these areas targets the diffusion of the new techniques to industrial and transportation sectors in order to minimise their greenhouse gas emissions.