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Study Looks Into Trends in Forest Biomass for Energy in EU

Posted on the 06 June 2014 by Dailyfusion @dailyfusion
Study Looks Into Trends in Forest Biomass for Energy in EU(Credit: Flickr @ *Light Painting*

European Forest Institute (EFI) along with the International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy (IINAS) and Joanneum Research conducted a study on current trends in forest biomass for energy in Europe, carbon balance and the sustainable potential.

The study analyzed the role of sustainable woody bioenergy in the future EU energy system for electricity, heat and transport fuels, taking into account the potentials for energy efficiency, and non-bioenergy renewables.

SEE ALSO: Bioenergy From Forestry Is Not Sustainable Enough for EU

Three scenarios were modeled to evaluate how sustainable woody bioenergy could be used by 2020 and 2030:

• The reference scenario (REF) is based on the EC 2013 PRIMES reference (pdf). Overall demand for material uses of wood will increase, and co-firing of imported pellets becomes relevant. In REF, bioenergy from EU forest will provide about 1700 PJ by 2030, and woody residues and short rotation coppice (SRC) will contribute with 1300 PJ while about 750 PJ of wood pellets would be imported to the EU. Non-woody bioenergy would contribute about 600 PJ.
• Two contrasting scenarios—one for greenhouse-gas emission reduction (GHG), and one for ambitious sustainability (SUS) assume more stringent energy efficiency and higher renewable energy targets.
• The reduced GHG emissions scenario (GHG) considers C stock changes for forest bioenergy, and implements cascading use of woody material. With that, the use of EU forest products is reduced to 1100 PJ by 2030, and imports can be reduced by 80 %. Domestic woody bioenergy from residues, wastes and SRC would supply 3100 PJ by 2030, a doubling compared to the REF scenario. Non-woody bioenergy use would also increase to 1200 PJ, mainly from straw, and manure.
• The sustainable bioenergy scenario (SUS) assumes same demand as in the other scenarios but reduces forest bioenergy use to avoid associated risks, especially from imports. As in the GHG scenario, cascading use of woody material is massively increased. The use of EU forest bioenergy will be only about 350 PJ by 2030, and no woody bioenergy would be imported. The use of woody residues, wastes and SRCwould increase to 2700 PJ, and non-woody bioenergy would contribute about 3100 PJ.

The implementation of stringent energy efficiency measures in all scenarios would significantly reduce the final energy demands for heat and transport while electricity demand could remain almost constant.

For electricity generation, the share of woody bioenergy will remain at 5% in the REF and GHG scenarios, while in the SUS scenario it will be less than 1 % by 2030. The amount of woody bioenergy used for heat would be about 8% (REF) and 9% (GHG+SUS) by 2030, but the source of the wood is very different in the scenarios.

Electricity Generation in the EU27 from 2010-2030

Electricity Generation in the EU27 from 2010-2030. (Source: IINAS calculations) Note: woody bioenergy includes forest and non-forest bioenergy; non-woody bioenergy includes biogas and liquid biofuels.

For transport, the contribution of woody bioenergy in the REF scenario would reach 2% by 2030, while in the GHG and SUS scenarios it will be 6%–7%, respectively. The GHG scenario would further reduce feedstocks imports by 60% compared to the REF scenario by 2030, while the SUS scenario would phase-out imports completely. Both the GHG and SUS scenarios would instead use woody residues and straw for second generation biofuels.

Overall, the study found that the lower mobilization of forest resources would be sufficient to meet woody material demands only if resource efficient cascades and stringent energy efficiency measures were implemented.

The full text of the study is available online (pdf).

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