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FAO/UNEP/UN-Energy Bioenergy Decision Support Tool -
MODULE 0: Introduction
those projects aimed at exports, the scale of investment may be
large in comparison to the local economy, and the associated
impacts may therefore be quite signifcant for the affected
population. The various modules of the DST (as described below)
therefore provide guidance and supporting material to enable
the formulation of a strategy and the screening of projects in a
complementary manner.
Thematic and Geographical Scope
The DST can be used for any type of bioenergy, regardless of the
biomass energy carrier (solid, liquid, gas, heat, electricity, etc.)
and any type of sector or application (transport, heat/power, etc.).
Some aspects of the DST also address the useful linkages and
synergies (or in some cases conficts) that arise across different
biomass carriers, sectors, or applications
<Mod1: Energy carriers
and conversion options>
. Some countries or regions may give
special priority to one form or another, but such preferences
are best determined as an output of the strategy development
process itself. There is generally no a priori reason to identify
exclusive emphasis on one biomass form over another, since
each has its appropriate role, subject to the techno-economic,
social, and environmental characteristics of the various options.
The DST is oriented towards modern bioenergy rather than
the traditional biomass sector
<Mod1: Traditional vs. Modern
. This emphasis is largely due to the fact that the
impacts of modern bioenergy systems are more concentrated
spatially and/or temporally and are much more likely to be
associated with international projects or investment. As devel-
oping countries improve and implement their strategies, domestic
markets for modern bioenergy should become more mature and
there should be a corresponding decrease in the relative impact of
international projects. A more mature domestic market for modern
bioenergy is needed to insure long-term sustainability and to avoid
some of the fuctuations associated with international markets and
In spite of the emphasis on modern bioenergy in the DST,
the present reality is that the long-term impacts of traditional
biomass use are signifcant and represent a much larger category
of biomass use in almost all developing countries (Brazil is an
obvious exception). Consequently, the DST does address
traditional biomass in a number of modules, especially where
there appear to be potential synergies or conficts between
traditional and modern bioenergy options. A more effcient use of
biomass in cooking, generally forest-based or woody biomass,
can free up resources for other uses. The linkage can also be
direct, such as when bioethanol is used for cooking instead of
traditional biomass.
The DST is designed to be used at a national level or possibly at
a regional level, in those cases where suffcient regional economic
integration exists and/or where a regional approach is under
development. For smaller developing countries, a multi-country or
regional strategy offers considerable advantages when medium
to large-scale bioenergy options are being considered. The
possibility to access regional and international markets through
expanded regional cooperation can fundamentally alter the feasi-
bility of different bioenergy alternatives and in many cases can
reduce the risks of technology platforms and investment options.
The DST is designed especially to support countries or regions:
• that are at an early stage in their decision processes on
bioenergy, and/or;
• that may not have the resources to devote (generally Least
Developed Countries) to develop their own decision methods
for a bioenergy strategy, and/or;
• that have identifed the need for a change in approach or are
looking for a mechanism to incorporate updated information
and methods in their existing strategy.
Module 0
Module 1
Module 9
Tools and
Module 5
Module 5
People and
Module 7
Module 8
Module 3
and Operations
Module 4
Module 2
Designing a
Figure 2: Decision Support Modules and their relation in terms of net information fow
NOTE: There are many linkages across the modules, but for simplicity they are expressed by using unidirectional arrows to show where
there is a net fow of supporting information. Hyperlinks generally fow in the opposite direction of the arrows, i.e. to the supporting
information. The modules are grouped where they serve a similar function and/or present similar net fows of information.