Bamboo is gradually being recognised as a globally important biomass resource. Bamboo biomass can be used directly as fuelwood; modified into charcoal for cooking and heating; or converted into gas for thermal and electrical energy generation. It is a strategic, but often overlooked, resource for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7: ensuring clean and sustainable energy access for all.
By contrast, bamboo can be harvested in a relatively short period and does not require replanting after harvesting, so it provides a continuous supply of material. Using bamboo for cooking and heating can take pressure off other forest resources, avoiding deforestation. These qualities make bamboo a suitable bio-energy resource for domestic as well as industrial applications.
Bamboo cultivation and conversion into charcoal also offers great potential for income generating options: a rural household could earn over USD 1000 a year from producing bamboo charcoal.
In Madagascar, INBAR is demonstrating the power of bamboo. A 25kW bamboo gasifier is being built which aims to power a training facility and around 250 local households.
With further applications and pilot projects, bamboo biomass can become a strategic tool to meet a range of international development goals, including the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Bonn Challenge, REDD+ and the Aichi Targets. INBAR is an Observer to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and has worked across the world on bamboo bioenergy projects.