Bioenergy and biomasses in Europe

Bioenergy plays a key role in future EU energy strategies, providing an important contribution in the long-term objective goal to develop a competitive, resource efficient and low carbon economy by 2050. In the European Commission’s Roadmap 2050 and in accordance with Directive 2009/28/EC, the European Union is committed to reduce GHG to 80–95% below 1990 levels by 2050 and to deliver a decarbonisation objective while ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness at the same time. In compliance with this strategy, SEEMLA will design recommendations for a modified policy and suitable measures that aim at supporting investment in biomass production and conversion processes matching the sustainable production of biomass with socioeconomic and environmental impacts.

In addition to wind energy and photovoltaics, biomass represents the most important and versatile renewable energy source in Europe. Biomass is used in solid, liquid and gaseous form for the generation of electricity and heat and the production of biofuels. For example, in Germany in 2015, almost 30% of the total gross energy generation was generated from renewable energy sources, of which about 8% was generated by the different energetic biomass.

The use of bioenergy is to be further expanded in the heat, transport and electricity sectors. The technically usable potentials for this are generally available, but they are limited and their development is often only possible with high costs.

In addition to the agricultural and forestry biomass, residuals and biogenic waste are available for energy use. These include, in addition to the old and used timber, biowaste, liquid manure, and grain grains. The exploitation of this largely untapped potential will continue to be a priority in the future and will help to fill the energy gap by 2050. The energetic use of biogenic residues and waste materials contributes to avoiding or alleviating any possible conflicts of use between the energetic and the material use of biomass. This also applies to the use of marginal or special sites.

While e.g. In Greece wind energy and photovoltaics or in the Ukraine the use of mostly grassy biomass lead the bioenergy market, Germany is by far the most important bioenergy carrier in Germany; the consumption in 2014 was about 28 m solid cubic meters (Döring et al., 2016 in FNR, 2016). Domestic consumption of wood raw materials has been growing steadily over the past two decades. The wood raw materials include forest wood, old wood (used wood), landscape care material, but also industrial wood, which is also contained in the forest wood. In addition to forestry, agriculture is an important supplier of biomass for energy use. The main focus is rapeseed cultivation for biodiesel production, the provision of substrates for biogas production and the cultivation of plants containing starch and sugars for bioethanol production.

Further information:

EC Renewable Energy Info

EC Biomass Info

ETIP Bioenergy SABS

FNR – Bioenergy information

FNR – Renewable Energy