Agrobiomass and forest chips are the most underused bioenergy sources available today. There is potential for increasingÂ their use by 50 percent from the present, says a new study from Eubionet III projectÂ that provides more accurate information available than ever before on biomassÂ reserves in 23 EU member states and Norway.Â The annual potential for biomaterial gained from
Agrobiomass and forest chips are the most underused bioenergy sources available today.
There is potential for increasingÂ their use by 50 percent from the present, says a new study from Eubionet III projectÂ that provides more accurate information available than ever before on biomassÂ reserves in 23 EU member states and Norway.Â The annual potential for biomaterial gained from forests, fields and industryÂ was eventually estimated at the equivalent of 157 million tons of oil,Â according to the project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre ofÂ Finland.
“Current use of bioenergy exploits less than half the bioenergy potentialÂ of the states studied. The greatest potential for increase is in forest chipsÂ and agrobiomass,” says Senior Research Scientist Eija Alakangas from VTT,Â who was in charge of the project.Â The project focused on the technical and economic potential of biomass reservesÂ and on solid biofuels.
“If we further assume that about half the waste generated in the EU isÂ biodegradable, that would translate into the equivalent of about 37 millionÂ tons of oil, bringing the total available biomass up to some 200 million tonsÂ of oil.”
The data on biomass reserves established during the project are publiclyÂ available, and best practices are being exchanged between countries.Â Information on biomass fuel chains, for example, is useful for enterprises.
Removing obstacles to tradeÂ The Eubionet project aimed toÂ increase biomass fuel use in the EU by finding ways to remove existingÂ obstacles to trade.Â In addition to exploring the biofuel potential of the EU and its sufficiency,Â the Eubionet project studied sustainable development criteria for solidÂ biofuels, generated information for use in standardization and monitoredÂ biofuel price development since 1999.
For instance, wood pellet trade was evaluated in the project using customsÂ codes and by collecting price data on biomass fuels. Foex Indexes Ltd, anÂ enterprise specializing in monitoring indices, uses a standard as the basis forÂ the index for industrial pellets. A new customs code will be introduced forÂ wood pellets to monitor the pellet trade from 2012.
EU sustainability and energy policy will influence how biomass fuel useÂ develops in the future. It has not yet been estimated at the EU level what theÂ volume required for sustainable development might be.Â EU criteria for sustainability of solid and gaseous biofuels will be drawn upÂ in the future, and the country reports and summary produced in the project willÂ provide valuable inputs. The EU will make use of the findings of the project inÂ its preparatory work.
The EUBIONET III project ran from 2008 to 2011. Together with its earlierÂ incarnations, the project has lasted altogether 12 years. The project formsÂ part of the Intelligent Energy Europe program.