Bioenergy Opportunities, Barriers and Challenges in the Arabian Peninsula – Resource Modelling, Surveys & Interviews

Andrew Welfle, Ali Alawadhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The link between energy and climate change is fundamental - energy accounting for two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. Of all countries, those of the Arabian Peninsula are synonymous with energy and the supply and use of fossil fuels. However driven by commitments to international climate change agreements the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been developing alternative energy strategies with targets for renewables. This paper presents the outputs of biomass resource modelling analyses that identify bioenergy opportunities across the region. Municipal wastes are found to represent a leading opportunity for bioenergy with a combined 19.35 Mtpa of resource across the GCC currently being sent to landfill that could otherwise be used for energy. The research finds that up to 22.5% of GCC country electricity could be generated from bioenergy technologies fuelled by indigenous biomass resources. Interviews were undertaken with Director-level GCC individuals from industry and government and a survey was facilitated to gain an understanding of perceptions of bioenergy and the potential barriers to its greater deployment. There was majority support for renewable technologies and for bioenergy, however a majority of respondents were found to be ‘not willing’ or ‘unsure’ when asked if they would be willing to take any individual actions such as recycling to support bioenergy schemes. High availability of cheap fossil fuels, stimulated by fossil fuel subsidies is identified as the greatest barrier to renewables. The GCC’s commitment to international climate and sustainability targets represents an opportunity to develop a strategy to phase out fossil fuels.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomass & Bioenergy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Apr 2021


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