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The Recycling Specialist.


e Visit us at th

Biomass n a e p o r u E h 20t hibition x E d n a e c n Confere 15 Booth A14/A For more information, please visit our website

DOPPSTADT GmbH Barbyer Chaussee 3 39240 Calbe, Germany Tel: +49 (0)39291 55-0, Fax: -350


Be sustainable

The magazine of bioenergy and the bioeconomy

BioEnerGIS GIS-based Decision Support System for sustainable energetic exploitation of biomass at regional level KNOWLEDGE - Assessment of Biomass Resources and Heat Demand BioEnerGIS mapped in Lombardy (IT), Northern Ireland (UK), Slovenia, Wallonia (BE): • the biomass potentially exploitable for energy purpose. In line with the EU legislation, BioEnerGIS has contributed to harmonize the methodologies and glossaries in biomass assessment; • the heat demand potentially fulfilled by biomass plants through district heating systems. PLANNING - BioPOLE (Biomass Plant Optimal Localisation Estimator) The GIS-based Decision Support System BIOPOLE helps to identify the optimal location for new biomass plants through: • the characterization of each 500m x 500m cell in terms of heat demand and available biomass; • the selection of the best technological options; • the verification of the sustainability criteria identified during the interaction with the stakeholders. BIOPOLE is accessible through the web INVOLVEMENT – Private and Public Partnership BioEnerGIS explored the public and private interest in realizing biomass plants , analysing through facilitation methods the different stakeholders’ needs. Starting with the creation of regional networks, specific actions were set up to support the involvement of private and public stakeholders. Signing a Local Agreement the stakeholders confirmed their availability to collaborate in order to conduct more detailed pre-feasibility studies around new biomass plants placed in their territory. They also committed themselves to create and develop local chains in order to better utilize the biomass locally available.

with the contribution of: A European Project supported through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development

Biomass potential Forest Sector (ton) 0 - 19 20 - 62 63 - 144 145 - 272 273 - 539

10 km

Lombardy D3 Set of biomass potential maps



Obtaining more from less

he term bioeconomy is more and more frequently used to refer to a broad range of activites in different economic sectors and industries, whose common goal is the sustainable use of renewable biological resources for the production of a variety of end products such as food, feed, biofuels, bioenergy and bio-based chemicals. In the first half of 2012, two important policy documents were published, namely the European Bioeconomy Strategy and the U.S. National Bioeconomy Blueprint. Although the two documents show a different approach to this topic, both emphasize the fundamental role of bioeconomy related research and innovation, as well as cooperation among private and public organizations, to bring new ideas and products onto the market and stimulate a sustainable growth. As stated in the European policy document “The EU needs to produce more with less“. This challenge is at the base of the biorefinery concept, around which many industrial demonstration and research activities are centered, and it is the focus of this issue of BE-Sustainable. Developing and scaling up technologies to use biomass resources and their waste streams smartly to produce multiple products, will require a great deal of investments. Bioenergy is an essential driver to support this transition to a bio-based economy and already provides for 10% of the global primary energy supply. Though direct and indirect effects of bioenergy must be carefully observed, even the most cautious estimates on the global availability of biomass indicate there is still ample margin for the sustainable use of these renewable resources. Solutions to ensure and demonstrate sustainability along biomass value chains are available, but many experts and stakeholders suggest there is an urgent need to reach consensus on sustainability requirements and create a level playing field in the interest of market efficiency and the development of this sector. Enjoy reading. Note: find the keywords and the most recurring words of the European Bioeconomy Strategy “Innovating for Sustainable Growth” in the tag cloud on the coverpage.

Maurizio Cocchi Editor-in-Chief

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New biomass research at Danish Technological Institute Marine biomass at Danish Technological Institute

Photo: Peter Bondo Christensen

Danish Technological Institute is currently leading the project: The MacroAlgaeBiorefinery – sustainable production of 3. generation bioenergy carriers and high value aquatic fish feed from macroalgae (acronym: MAB3). The project aims at converting brown macro algae (Laminaria and Saccharina) to liquid biofuel and using the residuals for fish feed. Danish Technological Institute is partner in AlgaeCentre Denmark which is a research- and development plant located in Grenaa, Denmark

Photo: Torben Skøtt

Torrefied biomass at Danish Technological Institute

Photo: Torben Skøtt

In the spring of 2011 at Danish Technological Institute's location in Sdr. Stenderup the Institute together with ANDRITZ Feed & Biofuel opend the doors to a plant for production, testing and experimenting with torrefaction and pelleting of biomass. It takes place in a new building of 770 m2, which will include facilities for integrated torrefaction and pelletization of biomass. The new plant is planned in cooperation with ANDRITZ Feed & Biofuel.

Danish Technological Institute • • Peter Daugbjerg Jensen • Phone: +45 7220 1340 • Email:


Be sustainable








BE Sustainable Publication pending ETA-Florence Renewable Energies via Giacomini, 28 50132 Firenze - Italia Special issue

Editorial notes · M. Cocchi | Obtaining more from less


News | Bioenergy and bioeconomy news around the world


Policy · M. Cocchi | Building the bioeconomy


Industry · E. Manning | EuroBioRef: designing the next generation of european biorefineries


Technology · H. Waegeman | Bio Base Europe - supporting the bio-based economy


Technology · J. Kiel | Bioenergy - key element of a bio-based economy


Resources · R. Slade | The global biomass resource


Resources · F. X. Johnson et al. | Sugarcane for bioenergy in Southern Africa


Sustainability · R. Edwards et al. | Biofuels and land use change


Markets · L. Pelkmans et al. | Sustainability of bioenergy - trade and market issues


Markets · D. Bradley | A bio-trade equity fund to unlock new biomass trade


Sustainability · J. Dakhorst et al. | Experiences with NTA 8080 sustainability scheme


Events · M. Ploutakhina et al. | Sustainable biomass for electricity conference - The highlights


Communication · D. McGarry | Increasing awareness of future low carbon energy options


Opinions · G. Grassi | A global view on energy & environmental trends


IMPRINT: BE Sustainable is published by ETA-Florence Renewable Energies, Via Giacomini 28, 50132 Florence, Italy Editor-in-Chief: Maurizio Cocchi | | twitter: @maurizio_cocchi Managing editor: Angela Grassi | Authors: Maurizio Cocchi, Eibhilin Manning, Hendrik Waegeman, Jaap Kiel, Raphael Slade, Francis X. Johnson, Vikram Seebaluck, Robert Edwards, Luisa Marelli, Declan Mulligan, Monica Padella, Luc Pelkmans, Liesbet Goovaerts, Nathalie Devriendt, Peter-Paul Schouwenberg, Douglas Bradley, Jarno Dakhorst, Harmen Willemse, Harold Pauwels, Ortwin Costenoble, Marina Ploutakhina, Alessandro Flammini, Darren McGarry, Giuliano Grassi Marketing & Sales: Graphic design: Tommaso Guicciardini Corsi Salviati Layout: Valentina Davitti, ETA-Florence Renewable Energies Print: Mani srl | Via di Castelpulci 14/c | 50018 Scandicci, Florence, Italy Website: Cover image by © iStockphoto/Maliketh | Image on page 6 by © | Image on page 22 by © | Image on page 30 by © | Image on page 34 by © | Image on page 40 by ©

Bioenergy and bioeconomy news around news

Boeing, Airbus teaming up on biofuels While competing for jet orders worth almost $100 billion a year the companies signed a deal together with Brazil's Embraer to develop aviation biofuels. "There are times to compete and there are times to cooperate," said Jim Albaugh Boeing's CEO. "Two of the biggest threats to our industry are the price of oil and the impact of commercial air travel on our environment. By working with Airbus and Embraer on sustainable biofuels, we can accelerate their availability and reduce our industry's impacts on the planet we share."

E.ON gets permit for a 150 MWe biomass plant in UK though plan uncertain Located in the port of Bristol and to be fuelled mainly by imported virgin wood, dedicated energy crops and locallysourced waste wood, the plant would generate electricity to power up to 160,000 homes and tens of jobs. However the project will remain idle in light of a proposal to cut biomass subsidies.

World’s largest wood pellet-fired power plant damaged by fire in UK The accident occurred when a fire broke out in the facility’s wood-pellet stockpiles. At 100% capacity, the 750 MWe plant would need roughly 2.5 million tons of wood pellets annually, mostly produced at RWE’s Waycross facility in U.S.

15 March 2012

26 February 2012

26 March 2012

Biogas plant will power new Apple data center in North Carolina The project was announced in Apple’s 2012 environmental update, and will consist of a 5 MW, 100 percent biogas-powered fuel cell facility. It will be the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the U.S. Directed biogas will be sent to the facility via Piedmont Natural Gas. 6 April 2012

RWE Innogy Venture Capital invests in innovative Belgian biogas start-up GreenWatt S.A. The biogas technology developed by GreenWatt involves multi-stage digestion in the absence of oxygen and provides the conditions for a flexible digestion of organic waste materials without the addition of animal manure and using an especially high water content substrate, making the technology suitable for food industry sites. A financing round of 6 million euro is planned to finance GreenWatt's international growth. 16 March 2012

Lufthansa ends trial of biofuel flights due to lack of certified sustainable biofuels The trial was performed over a 6 months period on an Airbus A321 engine being powered by a 50:50 blend of regular fuel and biofuel, counting 1187 flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg, Germany. The company stated it will continue on with the trials only when it will able to secure the volume of sustainable, certified raw materials required in order to maintain routine operations.

Renewable diesel obtained by Amyris from Ceres' sweet sorghum hybrids A pilot-scale project evaluated both sugars and biomass from Ceres' sweet sorghum hybrids. The sorghum juice was first extracted from the stems and concentrated into sugar syrup by Ceres. Amyris then processed the syrup using its proprietary fermentation system. The ligno-cellulosic bagasse was then converted into sugar by NREL and subsequently fermented this into renewable farnesene by Amyris. Yields were comparable to sugarcane. 3 May 2012

11 January 2012

EU releases bioeconomy strategy document U.S. Enviva Pellets achieves large wood pellet supply agreement with E.ON E.ON has agreed to a multi-year supply purchase agreement of 240,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year to be supplied starting in 2013, confirming once more the growth patterns currently seen in the U.S. wood pellet exports market. 6 February 2012

Titled "Innovating for sustainable growth" the strategy focuses on improving resource efficiency, conserving natural resources and shifting to renewable energy while promoting economic growth through supporting research and innovation. While not introducing additional money, it calls for better coordination or efforts through the Common Agricultural Policy, the Horizon 2020 research programme, along with other EU and national programmes. 14 February 2012

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the world


Biofuels could be competitive as aviation fuel by 2020 According to a Report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the cost of some biofuels made from the hydro-treatment of oils like jatropha or camelina, or from pyrolysis of cellulosic feedstocks, should become competitive with fossil-based jet fuel. However in the foreseeable future even with good economics there will simply be limited availability of certified and relatively low-cost biofuel.

Finnish UPM to build a biorefinery producing biofuels from crude tall oil derived from pulp The commercial size facility will be built in Lappeenranta, Finland and produce about 100,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year to be used as vehicle fuel. The biofuel will be called BioVerno and will emit 80 per cent less greenhouse gases than traditional fossil fuels. Around 50 people will be employed directly and 150 indirectly. 3 February 2012

15 February 2012

Novozymes Partners with Danish Biorefinery Project Novozymes agreed to partner with Maabjerg Energy Concept in a consortium with DONG Energy and local utility companies Vestforsyning, Struer Forsyning and Nomi to develop a biorefinery project producing several million cubic meters of biogas, much of which can be upgraded to natural gas, and 73 million liters (19 million gallons) of bioethanol, as well as district heating for 20,000 households and electricity for several thousand homes. Novozymes will provide enzymes and biotech expertise to the consortium. 30 April 2012

German VERBIO opens first straw based biomethane plant

European technology providers and Malaysian manufacturer sign deal to develop advanced biomass pretreatment and power generation equipments for Malaysia

At its new plant in Saxony, the fuel will be produced from agricultural residue, with no use of feedstock which could otherwise be used for food production. Compared to fossil fuels, the CO2 emissions of the biomethane produced will be up to 90 per cent lower than those of fossil fuels.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by C.H.E. Metal Works Sdn Bhd, ERK Eckrohrkessel GmbH, The Fitzpatrick Company and Torftech Ltd. The objective is to develop suitable equipments and processes for regional biomass. The technologies involved will be biomass powder processing, compaction, gasification, torrefaction and a high pressure single drum water tube boiler. With the hybrid concept, the processing plant will be able to generate multiple value added Bio-Products with single feed Biomass. In addition to pellets and torrefied pellets, the plant will be able to produce a special "Bioresin" as raw material for biochemical production.

21 March 2012

EU commissioners agree on the need to address ILUC but no decision taken At an extraordinary ‘orientation meeting’, the EU commissioners instructed the EU executive's energy and climate departments to jointly draft a legal proposal addressing indirect land use changes (ILUC) caused by the biofuels industry. According to Isaac Valero, spokesman for Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, “All the details need now to be worked out", but "there was a strong consensus on the need to address ILUC." 3 May 2012

8 May 2012

Malaysian Oil Palm Biomass Center Opened The center is a public-private partnership aiming to accelerate technology development, testing and demonstration for utilisation of oil palm biomass. OPBC will facilitate the collaboration of 3 major palm oil companies (Sime Darby, IOI, Felda) with globally leading technology developers interested in biomass utilisation. 23 March 2012

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BUILDING THE BIOECONOMY The terms bioeconomy and bio-based economy are more and more frequently used to refer to a broad range of activities in different economic sectors including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and pulp and paper production, as well as parts of chemical, biotechnological and energy industries. The common goal to each of those activities is the sustainable production of renewable biological resources, their conversion and that of waste streams into food, feed, bio-based products such as bioplastics, biofuels and bioenergy. Sectors that have a strong innovation potential are the backbone of the emerging bioeconomy due to their use of the scientific results and of the tools provided by life sciences, agronomy, ecology, food science and social sciences, as well as bio-technology, nanotechnology, information and communication technologies and engineering.

A texture of plant cells surrounded by walls composed by cellulose fibers. Every day through photosynthesis, plant use solar energy to convert CO2 mainly into cellulose, sugars and other complex molecules. Thanks to continuous research and innovation efforts, these molecules constitute the base for a multitude of common and emerging applications in agriculture, food, healthcare, chemicals and energy.

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Maurizio Cocchi | ETA-Florence Renewable Energies

Fisheries and Aquaculture 32 Forestry/Wood ind. 269 Bio-chemicals and Plastics 50 Paper/Pulp 375

n a time when natural resources are heavily overexploited, while global population is expected to increase by more than 30% in the next 40 years (9 billion in 2050) and potentially irreversible climate changes are a concrete possibility, renewable biological resources are a fundamental tool to meet the needs of European citizens and industry, for a secure and healthy food and feed, as well as to provide materials, energy, and other bio-based products. These are the reasons why the European Commission, in its strategy document “Innovating for a Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe”, published in February 2012, has recognized that the development and uptake of the bioeconomy is as a fundamental tool to contribute to addressing these major global societal challenges and to reinforce the competitiveness of the European economy. Obtaining more from less, finding ways to produce, mobilize and exploit biological resources in a sustainable way while limiting negative impacts on the environment is a crucial objective for today’s economy. To achieve this target research and innovation, will be essential to bring new ideas, solutions and technologies to the market. The new knowledge produced will allow the bioeconomy to develop in an sustainable way and create jobs at the same time. It is estimated that direct research funding associated to the Bioeconomy Strategy under Horizon 2020 (the EU framework program for research and innovation) could generate about 130 000 jobs and € 45 billion in value added by 2025. Not with standing all these high expectations for the future and the firm need to support research and innovation, the EU bioeconomy already has a turnover of nearly €2 trillion and employs more than 22 million people, 9% of total employment in the EU (see figures 1 and 2).

Enzymes 0,8 Biofuels 6


The pillars of the European Bioeconomy Strategy The EU bioeconomy strategy and its action plan include twelve actions in three main pillars to be taken by EU as well as Member States and Regions: investing in research, innovation and skills; reinforcing policy interaction and stakeholder engagement; enhancing markets and competitiveness. The need to increase public funding for bioeconomy research and innovation has been recognised in the European Commission's proposal for its future research programme

Food 965

Agriculture 381

fig. 1: EU Bioeconomy annual turnover (billion euro) Forestry/Wood ind. 3000 Fisheries and Aquaculture 500 Bio-chemicals and plastics 150 Enzymes 5 Biofuels 150

Paper/Pulp 1800

Food 4440

Agriculture 12000

fig. 2: EU Bioeconomy employment (thousands) Source: European Commission

Horizon 2020. €4.5 billion have been proposed for the Horizon 2020 'societal challenge' theme “Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and the bioeconomy”. In addition, bioeconomy related themes will also be partially supported under the other themes of Horizon 2020. In order for the EU bio-based industry to remain competitive, more products and services must be brought onto the market. The action plan aims at providing support for this process by supporting research and innovation and building the knowledge base to support cross-cutting policies. In addition the action plan includes measures to build the framework for the development of new markets, by developing standardised sustainability assessment methodologies for bio-based products and food production systems, supporting demonstration and scale-up activities, facilitating green procurement , and starting negotiations for establishing research and innovation Public Private Partnerships for bio-based industries at European level. The action plan also promotes a more informed dialogue and better interaction and coordination across various policies in place at the EU and Member State level in order to provide a more coherent policy framework thus encouraging investments. 7 Be


The EU bioeconomy action plan * Investment in research innovation and skills

Renforced policy interaction and stakeholder engagement

Enhancement of markets and competitiveness

Ensure substantial EU and national funding as well as private investment.

Create a Bioeconomy Panel that will contribute to enhancing synergies and coherence between policies, initiatives and economic sectors related to the bioeconomy at EU level. Organise regular Bioeconomy Stakeholder Conferences.

Provide the knowledge-base for sustainable intensification of primary production. Improve the understanding of current, potential and future availability and demand of biomass (including agricultural and forestry residues and waste), taking into account added value, sustainability, soil fertility and climate mitigation potential. Support the future development of an agreed methodology for the calculation of environmental footprints.

Increase the share of multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral research and innovation and improving the exsisting knowledge base.

Establish a Bioeconomy Observatory that allows the Commission to regularly assess the progress and impact of the bioeconomy and develop forward-looking and modelling tools.

Promote the setting up of networks with the required logistics for integrated and diversified biorefineries, demonstration and pilot plants across Europe, including the necessary logistics and supply chains for a cascading use of biomass and waste streams. Start negotiations to establish a research and innovation PPP for bio-based industries.

Promote the uptake and diffusion of innovation in bioeconomy sectors and create feedback mechanisms on regulations and policy measures.

Support the development of regional and national bioeconomy strategies by providing a mapping of existing research and innovation activities, competence centres and infrastructures in the EU.

Develop standards and sustainability assessment methodologies for biobased products and food production systems and support scale-up activities. Facilitate green procurement for biobased products by developing labels, an initial European product information list and specific trainings for public procurers. Contribute to the long-term competitiveness of bioeconomy sectors by putting in place incentives and mutual learning mechanisms for improved resource efficiency.

Build the human capacity required to support the growth and further integration of bioeconomy sectors.

Develop international cooperation on bioeconomy research and innovation to jointly address global challenges, such as food security and climate change, as well as the issue of sustainable biomass supply. Seek synergies and reach out to international organisations.

Develop science-based approaches to inform consumers about product properties (e.g. nutritional benefits, production methods and environment sustainability) and to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Source: Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe. * Reduced version - full version available at:

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Research and demonstration activities across a wide range of bioeconomy sectors are already ongoing, many of them with the support of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme FP7, whose total funding is expected to reach at least €1.9 billion,

with €1.5 billion allocated so far. Among other objectives, several of those projects support integrated and diversified biorefineries, to produce a wide range of products, fuels and energy from renewable sources (including wastes).

EUROBIOREF - The EuroBioRef project aims at demonstrating the technical and economic viability of the synergy of the biomass agro-industry with chemical, biochemical and thermo-chemical conversion processes and technologies that will be combined so as to optimise production routes of high added value bio aviation fuels, chemicals and polymers.

SUPRABIO will use renewable raw materials such as straw, seed oil, algae and waste water and convert them through microbial, fungal, enzymatic and chemical processes, to make healthcare products, cosmetics, pharmaceutical intermediates, and bio-fuels. The results from the project’s research will lead to five demonstration units being built in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.



BIOCORE analyses the industrial feasibility of a biorefinery concept that will allow the conversion of cereal by-products, forestry residues and short rotation woody crops into a wide spectrum of products including 2nd generation biofuels, chemical intermediates, polymers and materials. Through the development of a range of polymer building blocks, BIOCORE will show how 70% of today’s polymers can be derived from biomass. Source:

The first bioeconomy conference and the Declaration for Bioeconomy in Action In March 2012 the “Bioeconomy in Action” conference organised by the Danish Presidency of the European Union and The Danish Council for Strategic Research launched the EU Strategy and addressed the opportunities and challenges

FORBIOPLAST - Drawing on forest resources for sustainable manufacturing. A broadly-based European research consortium has been developing innovative ways in which wood-derived fibres and forestry by-products could replace petro-chemicals in a wide array of products from car seats to plant pots. Source:

of the development of the bioeconomy sector. Based on the highlights and the conclusions of the conference, “The Copenhagen Declaration for a Bioeconomy in Action” was published. The declaration presents the key findings and recommendations highlighted and debated at the conference, (the full version is available at

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The Copenhagen Declaration for a Bioeconomy in Action 1. The concept of the bioeconomy should be more strongly integrated into European policies. In particularly the Common Agricultural Policy should take the bioeconomy much more into account. This economic concept is composed of numerous new value chains to which farmers, fishermen and forest and aquaculture managers will add significant value. This requires a higher degree of training for new skills and competences which undoubtedly will lead to higher earnings and the creation of new businesses. New facilities and infrastructure will be required to effectively use the available biomass resources. Investments in establishing and optimising infrastructures and logistical capabilities are crucial to ensure that all biomass can be mobilised and used, in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. 2. A level playing field must be created for the different uses of biomass – such as food, feed, bio-based products and bio-energy – by reviewing incentives and regulatory frameworks. This is a prerequisite for increasing the value generated from biomass, and for stimulating the value chains. 3. There is a need for new ways of highly committed partnering between all stakeholders: citizens, consumers, academia, industry, primary producers, and policy makers. In this respect, the conference stressed the potential of using the whole range of mechanisms at European level, including European Research Area Networks, Joint Programming Initiatives, Public-Private Partnerships, and European Innovation Partnerships. Industry should play a stronger role. The conference found that the triple-helix collaboration between governmental bodies, universities and industries must be further developed. The Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) will also address questions related to the bioeconomy, in particular the proposed KIC “Food4future”. However, rules and application processes urgently need to be strongly simplified. 4. The activities of the Lead Market Initiative (LMI) for Bio-based Products (including public procurement, labelling and certification schemes for bio-based products) should be continued and implemented as the recommendations and results are highly relevant for the enhancement of markets and EU’s overall competitiveness. 5. The perceived conflict between food and non-food production from arable land could be overcome by using agricultural crop and forestry residues and bio-degradable waste as well as selecting feedstock such as algae and other under-exploited resources from aquatic and marine environments, and by using existing and new knowledge and technologies to increase biomass yield. 6. The conference emphasized the overall importance of resource efficiency and sustainability, especially regarding soil, nutrients, water and biodiversity, and stressed the need for strong links to the flagship initiative for a resourceefficient Europe. 7. With respect to resource efficiency and sustainability, common standards for life cycle assessments as well as agreed methodologies for sustainability criteria must be developed. 8. The conference demonstrated that successful bioeconomy initiatives already exist in many Member States. The experiences in building the bioeconomy as a highly cross-cutting endeavour should be shared in order to implement the basis for bioeconomy throughout Europe. The delegates welcomed the proposal of the Bioeconomy Strategy to create a Bioeconomy Panel which should be supported by similar cooperation platforms in Member States and at regional levels, and stressed in a similar way the need for an annual Stakeholder Conference to monitor and further enhance the bioeconomy in Europe. Closer collaboration with stakeholders, including the bioeconomy European Technology Platforms, was strongly supported. 9. The conference also underlined the need for new pilot and demonstration plants and scaling up facilities, in particularly biorefineries. It was stressed, that the development of these facilities requires smart integration of various funding sources, including the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, the Cohesion Policy, the Renewable Energy Policy, Horizon 2020, and private investments. 10. A common bioeconomy strategy is needed to assist global cooperation, to stimulate European industrial and scientific competitiveness, as well as European contribution to improving global environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness.

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The U.S. Bioeconomy Blueprint Bioeconomy is rapidly becoming a keyword for economic growth and development not only in Europe but also overseas. On April 26 the Obama administration released the National Bioeconomy Blueprint, confirming the strategic role of this multidisciplinary sector in stimulating the economy and progress. The Bioeconomy Blueprint outlines steps that agencies will take to drive the economic activities powered by research and innovation in the biosciences and details ongoing efforts across the Federal government to realize this goal. The bioeconomy is seen as a priority because of potential for growth and job creation as well as the many other societal benefits it offers, enabling the American people to live longer and healthier lives, develop new sources of bioenergy, address key environmental challenges, transform manufacturing processes, and increase the productivity and scope of the agricultural sector while generating new industries and occupational opportunities, i.e. in the production of biobased materials. The economic activities that are fuelled by research and innovation in the biological sciences are already an important sector for the economy of the U.S. According to the blueprint, in 2010, the advances in biological research and development have generated revenues for $76 billion in the agricultural sector, while around $100 billion revenues were generated from industrial biotechnologies for fuels, materials and industrial enzymes. As in the European strategy, research is considered as a key component of the bioeconomy, but it must be complemented by public-private partnerships ( i.e. in the biomedical sector) and increased, bioeconomy focused education and training efforts. In addition, unnecessary regulatory barriers should be removed to accelerate the advancement of bioinventions from laboratories to marketplaces while ensuring adequate attention to environmental and health concerns. In order to achieve these goals, the Bioeconomy Blueprint outlines five strategic objectives: 1. Support R&D investments that will provide the foundation for the future bioeconomy. 2. Facilitate the transition of bioinventions from research lab to market, including an increased focus on translational and regulatory sciences. 3. Develop and reform regulations to reduce barriers, increase the speed and predictability of regulatory processes, and reduce costs while protecting human and environmental health. 4. Update training programs and align academic institution incentives with student training for national workforce needs. 5. Identify and support opportunities for the development of public-private partnerships and precompetitive collaborations - where competitors pool resources, knowledge, and expertise to learn from successes and failures.

Tag cloud of the National Bioeconomy Blueprint

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Designing the next generation of European Biorefineries Eibhilin Manning | EUBIA - European Biomass Industry Association

ith the depletion of the fossil and natural re-


that the residues are being used to produce energy, either

sources and the need to shift to resource effi-

consumed on-site or being exported under various forms.

ciency in developing a sustainable bio-econ-

This is a rethinking of commonly admitted biorefineries

omy is a key strategic priority for Europe.

concepts that are strongly biofuels-driven. “A new flex-

In addition, the challenge of climate change

ible biorefinery will bridge the gap between agricultural

and reducing greenhouse gas emissions has led the EU to

and chemical industries, providing a stream for various

launch its own strategy in 2012 to transition away from the

biomass feedstock and producing a menu of finished green

fossil-fuel economy, namely a bio-economy strategy Inno-

chemical products,” says university professor and EuroBi-

vating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe.

oRef project coordinator Franck Dumeignil.

A bio-economy encompasses sustainable production of re-

Now two years since the beginning, the project has set up

newable biological resources and their conversion, as well

field crop trials. In the various test fields in Poland, Greece

as that of waste streams into bio-based products, biofuels

and Madagascar, lignocellulosic plants (willow, giant reed,

and bioenergy. Developing a sustainable bio-economy to

miscanthus, switchgrass, cardoon) and oil crops (castor,

support the fuel’s and chemicals’ production of Europe is

crambe, safflower, lunaria, jatropha, as well as sunflower

the goal of the EuroBioRef project (European Multilevel

and rapeseed for comparison) were grown according to

Integrated Biorefinery Design for Sustainable Biomass

smart rotation strategies, and all of them have already been

Processing). The EU Framework Seven funded project

harvested for feasibility evaluations and, when relevant,

aims to revive Europe’s “currently fragmented” biomass

for further downstream applications in the biorefinery.

sector by developing an integrated and commercially vi-

Among all the considered plants, further large test fields

able biomass production & upgrading system across the

for demonstrations are being set with willow and crambe


in Poland, giant reed and safflower in Greece and castor in

From a strategic perspective, it has been decided that EuroBioRef biorefineries should be chemicals/materials-

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Madagascar, while still working on other plants of interest for developing further potential applications.

driven, meaning that the best part of the biomass crops are

The following steps of the project are in the pretreatment

being used to make high value chemicals and products, and

of the crops. Three different kinds of lignocellulosic ma-


terials (miscanthus, giant reed and switchgrass) were suc-


cessfully tested in a new pretreatment process, showing its


remarkable versatility. This motivated the construction of a

brand new pilot plant in Norway that will be able to operate 50 kg of dry lignocellulosic materials per hour from mid 2012.

The EuroBioRef project (European Multilevel Integrated Biorefinery Design for Sustainable Biomass Process-

The various plant constituents can be processed bio-

ing; a 4 years program coordinated

logically, thermochemically or chemically using catalysts.

by CNRS, France, was launched on March 1st, 2010. It is

However, a particularly focus of EuroBioRef’s work is the

supported by a 23 M€ grant from the European Union 7th

integration of such processes in a smart sequential way in

Framework Program (FP7). EuroBioRef deals with the en-

order to transform the whole crop more effectively, ex-

tire process of transformation of biomass, from non-edible

plains Dumeignil.

crops production to final commercial products. It involves

In this respect, upgrading of the solid co-products issued

29 partners (industry, SMEs, academics) from 14 different

from primary transformation of biomass was also evalu-

countries in a highly collaborative network, including crop

ated, for example, by gasification, in specifically designed/

production, biomass pre-treatment, fermentation and enzy-

constructed units. It was found some plants addressed by

matic processes, catalytic processes, thermochemical proc-

the project can be efficiently processed. As another way of

esses, assessed by a life cycle analysis and an economic

upgrading the solid co-products of the biorefinery, carboni-

evaluation of the value chain.

zation to charcoal has been attempted on a wide range of different materials issued from the project. Some samples


exhibit excellent properties, with a high specific surface

The research leading to these results has

area. The possible applications of such upgraded solids are

received funding from the European Un-

investigated in the biorefinery concept. Indeed, they can be

ion’s Seventh Framework Programme

used as, e.g., absorbents or catalysts supports.

(FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement

For evaluating the sustainability of the envisioned so-

n° 241718 EuroBioRef

lutions, EuroBioRef partners started the development of some specific tools for life cycle assessment (LCA) taking into account harmonisation efforts with major sister biorefinery projects in the EU. These multilevel, multidisciplinary achievements are keystones for the further developments of the EuroBioRef concept that will be translated to a full set of demonstrations in the next coming months. For doing this, 6 value chains corresponding to 6 different scenarios of biorefineries integrating results and concepts developed in EuroBioRef have been designed, and are being now multidimensionaly assessed for the future demonstration and deployment in the Europe. This project hopes to assist Europe in developing sustainable biorefineries specifically designed for Europe’s needs and will thus help realise a sustainable bio-based economy in the Europe. Learn more about the ongoing research work in EuroBioRef at the 20th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, EuroBioRef will be organising a workshop on ‘Prospects for Biorefineries’ during the conference on Tuesday June 19th 2012. 13 Be


View on the facilities of the Bio Base Europe Training Center.


In 2008, Flanders and The Netherlands joined forces to build state-of-the-art research and training facilities to help the transition from an economy based on fossil resources to a biobased economy based on renewable resources. This resulted in the launching of Bio Base Europe, Europe’s first open innovation and education center for the biobased economy. Founding fathers are Ghent Bio-Energy Valley and Bio Park Terneuzen. Via Europe’s Interreg IV support, Bio Base Europe was able to invest 13 Million euro in a Pilot Plant in Ghent (Belgium) and 8 Million euro in a Training Center in Terneuzen (The Netherlands). 14 Be


Hendrik Waegeman | Bio Base Europe

he Bio Base Europe initiative is the first of its kind in Europe. Bio Base Europe has developed a unique platform for the advancement of sustainable biobased processes that aid the development of bioenergy and bioproducts from renewable biomass resources and cut reliance on non-replaceable fossil fuels. This transition from the current fossil-based economy towards a biobased economy is seen as one of the primary routes towards industrial sustainability. Biobased production is transforming a broad range of industries, notably in the chemical, energy and agro-industrial sectors around the world.


Bio Base Europe: offering pilot testing and training The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in Ghent is a flexible and diversified pilot plant that operates at ton scale. It is there to allow the customer to develop innovative bioprocesses and to build-up technological know-how, or to custom manufacture new products, starting from green resources. Through its activities, the Pilot Plant closes the gap between scientific feasibility and industrial application of new biotechnological processes. The Bio Base Europe Training Center in Terneuzen addresses an industry-wide shortage of skilled process operators and technical maintenance specialists by organizing general education for students and tailor made training programs for company process operators. In addition, the training center serves as an exhibition, information and networking center to inform the public about and stimulate entrepreneurship in the biobased economy.

Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, operational since early 2011, is a flexible and diversified pilot plant offering support in development, optimization and scale-up of new bioprocesses, and custom manufacturing of bio-based products at a kilogram to multi ton scale. The Pilot Plant is equipped to evaluate and valorize every aspect of the bioprocess in a single location; from the biomass green resource up to the final product. It enables customers to assess operating costs, specific strengths and weaknesses of new biotechnological processes before costly, large-scale investments are made. The Pilot Plant adheres to a service model. It realizes the development of new processes with the customer, who maintains the rights to the developed technology. Customers are companies or research partners from the chemical,

energy, agro-industrial or food sectors around the world. The Pilot Plant is an independent facility. There are no industrial interests or share holders, its construction was financed with European, Flemish and Dutch subsidies.

Process Technology The Pilot Plant offers a substantial diversity of equipment, covering a capacity range of kilogram to multi ton scale, divided over three production halls, flexibly dedicated to biomass pretreatment and fractionation, fermentation and water-based chemistry, and (explosion proof) green chemistry. Biomass pretreatment and downstream processing involve milling and pulping, dispersion, homogenizing and blending, heating and cooking, high speed centrifugal separation, sieving, high pressure front end filtration, cross flow membrane filtration, jet cooking, batch and continuous biocatalytic conversion, aqueous extraction, vacuum evaporation, demineralization, carbon treatment, continuous and batch crystallization from water or solvents. Continuous process lines can be built up by connecting unit operations with mobile positive and centrifugal pumps, heat exchangers, dosing pumps, flexible and fixed piping and instrumentation. White biotechnology processes take place in fermentors up to 15 m³, suited to perform sequential stages from inoculum build-up to production of biomass or primary or secondary metabolites in submersed cultures. Production fermentors can be run in batch, fed-batch or continuous modes, while assuring aseptic inoculation, aeration, substrate addition and harvesting. Production follow-up includes inline monitoring of pH, temperature and aeration, and sampling for measurement of stability of strains and their production traits, growth rate, absence of contamination, composition of culture medium, biomass and metabolite concentrations. Dedicated CIP units and steam supply ensure efficient cleaning and sterilization of fermentors and supply lines. Green chemistry is performed in explosion proof installations such as glass-lined chemical reactors up to 5 m³ (suited to run under vacuum and up to 10 bar), a filter dryer for solvent extraction of liquids and solids, crystallization and drying, conical dryer, crystallization line including a cooling and evaporative crystallizer, an inverting filter crystal centrifuge, a continuous crystal dryer and a crystal batch homogenizer. The process halls have a total surface area of 1700 m² 15 Be


and offer enough free space to easily move equipment for flexible rearrangement of process lines, or to include new equipment, either by acquisition, renting or temporary disposition by the customer or machine manufacturers. Production and product quality are followed-up in the (spacious) laboratory. Analytical equipment includes HPLC, GC, UV-VIS spectrophotometry, rheometry, moisture analysis, etc. Laminar airflow cabinet and solvent hoods are available, as well as incubators, a centrifuge, an autoclave, miliQ water. Samples can be anonymously analyzed by external laboratories or at the nearby Ghent University when other or more elaborate analytical methodologies (LC-MS/MS, NMR, IR, etc) are required.

Proximity of Ghent University Ghent University is with 38000 students and 7100 staff members one of the largest universities in Belgium and is a world leader in the field of biotechnology. Wim Soetaert, director of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant is also PI of the Centre of Expertise “Industrial Biotechnology and Biocatalysis� of Ghent University ( The Center of Expertise has a strong research tradition in industrial biotechnology, particularly directed towards the

biocatalytic synthesis of chemicals through either microbial fermentation or the use of isolated enzymes. The academic expertise in the field of industrial biotechnology is extended by the industrial experience of Prof. Wim Soetaert, who joined the laboratory in 2003 after having spent 13 years in Germany and France as the Research & Development director of large carbohydrate processing companies (Pfeifer & Langen and Chamtor). The laboratory possesses state-of-the-art equipment for research in the field of industrial biotechnology. The area of expertise includes screening for novel biocatalysts (enzymes and micro-organisms), the optimization of strains through metabolic engineering and synthetic biology, the engineering of enzymes through rational design and directed evolution, as well as process development, scale up, and down-stream processing.

Present and Future The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant is a young company. The conversion of the facility to a pilot plant has been finalized, and the utilities and most unit operations are operational. Since early 2011, projects are performed for customers, mainly in the field of enzymatic conversion of

View on the fermentation line at the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

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biomass and refining. In addition, five current projects of which part of them to be executed for industrial players, involve the scale up of fermentation processes from lab scale to 5 m3, e.g. one for the production of different types of biosurfactants and one for the production of different types of chito-oligomers. Start up companies welcome the services of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant as it enables them to get access to a sufficient amount of product which can be used for application trials or to convince investors of their technology. The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant intends to grow towards further diversification of technologies, and permanently seeks to integrate new state-of-the-art equipment boosting the biobased industry.

Bio Base Europe Training Center The Bio Base Europe Training Center is an education, network and exhibition center promoting the development of a sustainable biobased economy. It offers general and company-specific training and connects closely with the market demand. The Training Center works according to the one-stop-shop concept. The Center offers companies a wide range of trainings for their process operators and technical staff. For example, a training portfolio can be used by logging into a web-based learning management system. Furthermore, specific training and a full training program for technical staff are offered and support in hiring new process operators can be obtained. In addition, the Training Center is developing dynamic process simulators which can be used for the training of operators.

About Ghent Bio-Energy Valley Ghent Bio-Energy Valley is a non-profit organization, founded in 2008, which supports the development of sustainable biobased activities in the region of Ghent, Belgium and is a leading European initiative for the development of the biobased economy of the future. Ghent Bio-Energy Valley promotes the development of the biobased economy through collaborative programs, joint initiatives and synergy creation between the partners in the fields of Research & Development, structural measures and policy, logistics and communication towards the general public.

About Biopark Terneuzen Biopark Terneuzen is an initiative that represents new thinking in the creation of biobased industrial sustainability. Building on the economic and knowledge transfer advantages obtained through the co-location of associated businesses, Biopark Terneuzen raises the platform to a higher level. Its core mission is the development of the biobased industry in the Kanaalzone of Terneuzen. One of the ways to pursue this goal is by smart linking of industrial activities , which promotes and facilitates the exploitation of key synergies between partner companies. Specifically the potential to exchange and utilize each other’s by-products and waste streams as feedstock or utility supplements for their own processes. This contributes to a higher productivity, to the conservation of non-renewable resources and the reduction of environmental burden.


Scale Up of bio-based processes Custom Manufacturing of bio-based products at kg to multi ton scale

 Biorefining, biomass fractionation and pretreatment  Industrial Biotechnology (fermentation/enzymatic conversion)  Green Chemistry  Downstream Processing

Markets      

Biofuels Biochemicals Bioplastics and biomaterials Bioflavors and –fragrances Industrial enzymes …

Visit us at for more info!

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ECN’s 0.8 MWth MILENA gasifier. Courtesy of ECN



key element of a bio-based economy The large-scale deployment of bioenergy is under debate in many countries; not only because of sustainability issues but also because it interferes with biomass applications in other sectors, like feed and fibre production. An integral biobased economy approach is needed and the Dutch energy research organisation ECN contributes to the development and implementation of technologies for this biobased economy. Jaap Kiel | ECN

iomass, as a sustainable energy source, is scheduled to play a major role in all energy sectors to meet targets both for renewables to replace fossil fuels and for the reduction of GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions. However, there are many competing biomass applications like the production of food, animal feed, materials and chemicals, and in many cases the biomass volumes needed for these applications are also scheduled to grow. Given the limited biomass resources, this calls for a new balanced, cross-sectoral and integral approach, the biobased economy concept. In such a biobased economy, biomass is used for a well-balanced combination of the production of chemicals, materials and energy, following the value chain for biomass, while simultaneously strengthening the economy. Sustainability in all its dimensions (environmental, economic and social) is a prerequisite and should equally apply to all applications. Many biomass feedstocks allow for a cascade of use ranging from fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, via food & feed and platform chemicals & materials to transport fuels, power and heat. This can be accomplished through biorefinery concepts aimed at utilizing all biomass components and obtaining the maximum


added value through the application of advanced fractionation, separation, extraction and upgrading processes. It has to be noted, though, that not all biomass feedstock is suitable for producing higher added value products (e.g., contaminated and/or very heterogeneous residue streams) and that the energy sector is at least an order of magnitude larger than the chemical sector 1 . Therefore, in addition to using biorefinery residues, direct biomass-to-power&heat value chains will have to remain. However, given the limited added value of these value chains, the focus will be increasingly on lower quality (and thus lower cost) biomass feedstock. The need for such an approach has been recognized in several countries, in Europe (e.g., the Netherlands, France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries), but also in other large economies (e.g., USA, Brazil and China). In the Netherlands, the biobased economy is recognized as a large opportunity, building on four strong economic sectors, viz. trade/logistics, agro/food, (petro)chemical industry and the power sector. The Netherlands has the ambition to become a major biomass hub for Europe with a focus on import/export and trans-shipment of biomass and biobased products, and on biomass upgrading and processing. 19 Be


Torrefaction: Producing tonne-scale test batches at ECN

Therefore, the biobased economy has been identified as an important cross-sectoral topic in the new innovation policy of the Dutch government. A so-called Top consortium for Knowledge and Innovation on BioBased Economy is being formed in which industry, R&D institutes and universities and the government work closely together to accelerate the development and implementation of biobased value chains. It is encouraging that also on EU-level the need and prospects of a cross-sectoral biobased economy approach have been recognized. Last February, the European Commission presented a strategy document called "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe", aimed at a more coherent policy framework, an increase in R&D investments and the development of biobased markets. Moreover, in preparation of the new framework programme HORIZON 2020, a public-private partnership on biobased industries is being established aimed at accelerating the market implementation of biobased value chains, e.g. through demonstration and flagship plants. Bioenergy – i.e. the utilization of biomass for transport fuels production, power generation and heating & cooling – is a key element of a biobased economy. Three main reasons are: • Even if maximum use is made of other renewable sources (e.g., solar and wind), there is still a major role for bioenergy due to the size and specific nature of the energy demand in certain sectors (e.g., fuels for aviation, marine and long-distance road transport and high-temperature process heat). • Biorefinery residues that only allow bioenergy appli-

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cation are often a substantial fraction of the biomass input (30-40% is not uncommon). • Many biomass feedstocks are too contaminated or heterogeneous for higher value applications (e.g., organic fractions from household and industrial waste). Moreover, bioenergy can pave the way for higher added value applications in that it can initiate the international biomass market, and the necessary development and implementation of sustainability criteria and certification systems.

ECN and the biobased economy Within ECN, bioenergy has been a major R&D area for nearly two decades and the current biomass R&D programme is fully aligned with the biobased economy approach. With a general focus on thermochemical conversion routes, main R&D topics are: • Biomass upgrading into solid high-density bioenergy carriers • Biomethane or Substitute Natural Gas (SNG) production via gasification • Biorefinery concepts: Biomass fractionation and downstream processing into intermediates, transport fuels and chemicals Biomass upgrading into solid high-density bioenergy carriers appeals to the notion that biomass is a difficult energy source and the desire to decouple biomass availability and use in place, time and scale. Here, ECN focuses on two technologies, viz. torrefaction for relatively dry biomass (< 50 wt% moisture) and TORWASH for wet biomass (> 50 wt% moisture, e.g., agroresidues with high alkali and/or chlorine levels). Torrefaction is a thermal treatment at a temperature level of 200-320 ºC in the absence of oxygen. In combination with densification (e.g., pelletisation) a solid biofuel similar to coal results with a high bulk energy density (20-25 MJ/kg), which is water resistant and easy to mill. ECN played a pioneering role in the development of torrefaction technology for bulk energy applications. Through extensive bench- and pilot-scale testing, dedicated process and reactor technology was developed. The ECN 50 kg/h torrefaction pilot plant proved a reliable tool to produce 2-5


E.g., the global annual transport fuels use amounts to approx. 100 EJ versus 8 EJ for plastics (calculated on energy basis).


Lignin makes up 20-33 wt% of lignocellulosic biomass.


tonne high-quality test batches in 50-100 hour continuous runs. Last year, a cooperation agreement was concluded with Andritz Oy for demonstration and world-wide market introduction of torrefaction technology, and the 1 tonne/h demo plant is currently entering the commissioning phase. In parallel, product quality optimization through extensive logistics and end-use testing is conducted in SECTOR, a large EU-FP7 project. The TORWASH concept aims at upgrading wet (and salty) biomass streams at higher efficiency and lower cost than the combination of conventional washing, drying and torrefaction processes. The principle was proven at bench scale (20 litre autoclave) with subsequent pilot-scale testing in preparation. The development of SNG production via gasification is driven by the same notion and desire. Focus lies on the front-end process steps, gasification and gas cleaning (tar removal in particular). For both steps, dedicated technologie has been developed, viz. the indirect MILENA gasification technology and the OLGA technology for tar removal. The OLGA technology has been licensed to Dahlman and is now entering the market. MILENA gasification has been tested on lab-scale (20 kW) and pilot-scale (0.8 MW) in the ECN labs and is considered to be the ideal technology for SNG production. The combination of MILENA and OLGA can reach 70% efficiency from biomass to SNG on natural gas quality. Currently, a 12 MW (input) demo-plant is in preparation in cooperation with HVC and several other industrial partners. With respect to biorefinery concepts, the focus lies on the development and implementation of thermo-chemical process steps for the conversion of non-food (lignocellulosic and aquatic) biomass into transportation fuels and (platform) chemicals. The goal is to develop process steps that either optimize the economical and/or ecological performance of the whole process chain or that facilitate the implementation of the process chain by better tailoring the product characteristics to the requirements

of the end-user. Main R&D lines are: • Lignocellulosic biomass fractionation (Organosolv) • Upgrading of lignocellulosic fractions into transportation fuels and (platform) chemicals • Macroalgae/seaweed biorefinery The Organosolv process has been selected because of the potential to produce not only high-purity sugar fractions, but also high-purity lignin 2 . This offers the possibility to produce higher added value products from this fraction as well, reducing overall cost of biorefinery concepts. Over the past years, small-scale optimization of process conditions and scale-up from 2 to 20 l batch operation have been conducted. In addition, continuous reactor and process concepts have been developed, which will now be validated experimentally. The work on the upgrading of lignocellulosic fractions into transportation fuels and (platform) chemicals still is largely exploratory in nature. Here, lignin valorisation is a major topic and various application options are being developed in close cooperation with industry. Finally, ECN has become involved in a range of national and EU projects on exploring the potential of aquatic biomass (with a focus on macroalgae or seaweed) for the production of biofuels and biochemicals. Development of low-cost cultivation and harvesting and efficient biorefinery processes is crucial to exploit the prospects of seaweed. Here, ECN is paying particular attention to the development of fractionation techniques by extractions to produce sugars for catalytic conversion to fuels and chemicals and to the co-production of high value co-products (proteins and specific sugars like mannitol).

Biomass value pyramid

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THE GLOBAL BIOMASS RESOURCE Raphael Slade | Imperial College London 22 Be


sing biomass to provide energy services is promoted by many governments globally as a means to combat rising energy prices, support rural development and help mitigate climate change. Biomass is also expected to play an increasing role as a feedstock for the chemicals industry, reducing this sector’s reliance on coal and oil. Yet the increased use of biomass is not without controversy. While advocates argue that developing biomass resources represents an opportunity that society cannot afford to miss. Opponents point to the potential for conflicts with food supply, water availability, biodiversity and land use – arguing that rapid and injudicious expansion risks environmental ruin. To examine the facts of the debate, scientists at Imperial College London undertook a systematic review of the evidence base, re-examining all the global biomass potential estimates published over the last 20 years. Publishing their results in a landmark report, Energy from biomass: the size global resource, the authors describe how societal preferences around food, energy and environmental protection will ultimately determine the extent to which biomass is used, and whether production happens in a sustainable or unsustainable way.


Sources of biomass The most important sources of biomass are energy crops, agricultural and forestry residues, wastes, and existing forestry. By far the widest range of potentials, however, relates to energy crops: with estimates ranging from negligible to a contribution that exceeds current global primary energy supply. Because these crops require land and water, they also stimulate the most discussion about whether deployment at scale could be beneficial – e.g. mitigating some of the environmental damage caused by conventional agriculture; or detrimental – e.g. increasing competition for land, contributing to food price increases and damaging ecosystems. The other categories of biomass – agricultural and forestry residues, wastes and existing forestry – are comparatively neglected in global studies but could make a contribution comparable in size to the existing use of biomass for energy (around 10% of global primary energy supply). Practical and environmental constraints will also limit the use of agricultural and forestry residues. Biomass estimates are most often discussed in terms of a hierarchy of potentials: theoretical; technical; economic; and realistic. Different studies interpret these terms in different ways making comparison difficult and increasing the risk of misunderstanding. Yet while differences in definitions can be detrimental to effective communication they

do not by themselves account for why the range of estimates is so large. The methods used to estimate global biomass potentials, and energy crop potentials in particular, have advanced greatly over the last 20 years. Whereas the earliest studies used simple assumptions about the area of land that could be dedicated to energy crops and the quantity of residues that could be extracted from agriculture and forestry. Recent innovations include using spatially explicit modelling techniques and scenario based assessments. These models can provide a greater level of insight into the trade-offs and impacts associated with biomass development.

Assumptions underpinning estimates of biomass potential Biomass potential studies can be broadly divided into two categories, those that test the boundaries of what might be physically possible and those that explore the boundaries of what might be socially acceptable or environmentally responsible. Because many of the most important factors affecting biomass potentials cannot be predicted with any certainty, all resource estimates must be viewed as what if scenarios rather than predictions. The assumptions leading to the full range of global biomass potentials found in the literature reviewed are described in Figure 1. Estimates up to ~100EJ (~1/5th of current global primary energy supply) assume that there is very limited land available for energy crops. This assumption is driven by scenarios in which there is a high demand for food, limited intensification of food production, little expansion of agriculture into forested areas, grasslands and marginal land, and that diets evolve based on existing trends. The contribution from energy crops is correspondingly low (8-71EJ). The contribution from wastes and residues is considered in only a few studies, but where included the net contribution is in the range 17-30EJ. Estimates falling within the range 100-300EJ (roughly half current global primary energy supply), all assume that food crop yields keep pace with population growth and increased meat consumption. Little or no agricultural land is made available for energy crop production, but these studies identify areas of marginal, degraded and deforested land ranging from twice to ten times the size of France (<500Mha). In scenarios where demand for food and materials is high, a decrease in the global forested area (up to 25%), or replacing mature forest with young growing forest is also assumed. Estimates in this band include a more generous contribution from residues and wastes (60-120EJ) but this is partly because a greater number of 23 Be

waste and residue categories are included. Estimates in excess of 300EJ and up to 600EJ (600EJ is slightly more than current global primary energy supply) all assume that increases in food-crop yields will outpace demand for food, with the result that an area of high yielding agricultural land the size of China (>1000Mha) becomes available for energy crops. In addition these estimates assume that an area of grassland and marginal land larger than India (>500Mha) is converted to energy crops. The area of land allocated to energy crops could occupy over 10% of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s land mass, equivalent to the existing global area used to grow arable crops. For most of the estimates in this band a high meat diet could only be accommodated with extensive deforestation. It is also implicit that to achieve the level of agricultural intensification and residue recovery required, most animal production would have to be landless. Only extreme scenarios envisage biomass potential in excess of current global primary energy supply. The primary purpose of such scenarios is to illustrate the sensitivity of biomass estimates to key variables such as population and diet, and to provide a theoretical maximum upper bound.

Issues and implications for policy Seeking to predict future biomass supply remains a highly speculative endeavour. There are uncertainties that cannot be resolved, and trade-offs that will always be contested, such as land-use choices and both positive and negative environmental impacts. Nevertheless, the literature indicates that there is considerable potential to expand biomass use before these more contested elements begin to dominate. Doing so could assist our understanding of impacts and implications. Policy-making in an area beset by data gaps, scientific uncertainties and ethical debates is necessarily difficult. Moreover, policies related to diet, agriculture and land use are at least as important as those focused on biomass and bioenergy. Nevertheless it is possible to identify the following broad areas for policy action which could help address the opportunities and risks associated with biomass production for energy and chemicals: â&#x20AC;˘ A near term focus on tangible opportunities could expand biomass deployment while allowing sustainability concerns to be evaluated. At a global level concentrating on how the first 100EJ could be made available sus-

Fig. 1: Common assumptions for high, medium and low biomass potential estimates

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tainably would improve understanding of what is possible and the level of effort involved in going to higher levels of biomass use. There is a need to address key uncertainties through research and experimentation. For example: evaluating the sustainability of biomass production on marginal and degraded lands, the integration of food and biomass for energy systems, implications of energy crops on water use at regional level, and the environmental

implications of land use change and related carbon flows. • Developing and testing different approaches to environmental and land use governance that set biomass for energy, and agricultural systems, on a sustainable path. This article is adapted from an Imperial College and UK Energy Research Centre report: Energy from biomass: the size global resource. The full report may be downloaded free of charge from:

Top: Shares of global primary biomass sources for energy (IPCC, 2007a,d; IEA Bioenergy, 2009); Bottom: Fuelwood used in developing countries parallels world industrial roundwood1 production levels (UNECE/FAO Timber Database, 2011). Note: 1. Roundwood products are saw logs and veneer logs for the forest products industry and wood chips that are used for making pulpwood used in paper, newsprint and Kraft paper. In 2009, refl ecting the downturn in the economy, there was a decline to 3.25 (total) and 1.25 (industrial) billion m3; the data can be retrieved from a presentation on Global Forest Resources and Market Developments: timber.

Source: Chum, H., A. Faaij, J. Moreira, G. Berndes, P. Dhamija, H. Dong, B. Gabrielle, A. Goss Eng, W. Lucht, M. Mapako, O. Masera Cerutti, T. McIntyre, T. Minowa, K. Pingoud, 2011: Bioenergy. In IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation [O. Edenhofer, R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, K. Seyboth, P. Matschoss, S. Kadner, T. Zwickel, P. Eickemeier, G. Hansen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow (eds)], Cambridge University Press. Figure 2.XX

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SUGARCANE FOR BIOENERGY IN SOUTHERN AFRICA Francis X. Johnson | Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden Vikram Seebaluck | Faculty of Engineering, University of Mauritius, Le Réduit, Mauritius

ub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is a key testing ground for the future global bio-economy, as it lies at the heart of the “biomass-poverty belt,” i.e. the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world where extreme poverty and energy insecurity coincide with great bioenergy potential. It is important to recognise that developing this bioenergy potential often needs to occur through both domestic AND export markets. Domestic markets by themselves are often too small to achieve economies of scale or are poorly articulated due to lack of governing legislation; export markets can attract the muchneeded investment and infrastructure to support domestic markets. Bioenergy trade with SSA is attracting considerable interest due to its mutual advantages, but the lack of infrastructure and strong institutions means that investment needs to be focused on those options with near-term commercial prospects. Bioenergy from sugarcane offers such an option, especially in southern Africa, which already has some of the world’s most competitive sugar industries. The region has significant climatic advantages for growing sugarcane, but with a few exceptions the crop has thus far


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been mainly optimised for sugar production. An expansion in bioenergy and biomass-based products from sugarcane will bring new economic opportunities to rural areas while supporting a more sustainable economy.

A multi-product renewable resource The sugarcane crop has high photosynthetic efficiency and is currently the world’s most commercially important energy crop. However, the long historical emphasis on sugar (sucrose) accompanied by preferential trading arrangements have contributed to the result that only a few countries have made significant progress in optimising the crop’s overall productivity. Sugarcane offers an example of a versatile resource for food, feed, fuel, fibre and various specialized products, which together can reduce the dependence on fossil fuels in favour of low carbon development paths. Figure 1 provides an example of the energy and non-energy products that can be developed from the different biomass resource streams; as these products and processes are developed further in various world regions, sugarcane complexes are evolving into the world’s most successful and efficient models for the biorefinery of the future.


As suggested in Figure 1, the modern concept of a biorefinery has drawn considerable inspiration from the case of sugar cane as a feedstock. Such a biorefinery can provide many different energy and non-energy products and services, which are produced in tandem and with the maximum level of energy and water efficiency, recycling and ecological resource management.

devoting less of the cane juice to crystalline sugar production: up to 80 litres per tonne of cane when all of the juice is used directly, as is common in Brazil. Downstream facilities can potentially provide dozens of bio-based products, ranging from fertilisers to bio-plastics. Sugarcane is among the few first-generation biofuel crops that achieve highly significant GHG savings, due to its excellent energy balance and the efficient cascading of resource use in modern sugarcane processing systems.

Conclusions Although Brazil, Mauritius and a few other countries have developed sugarcane as a significant renewable energy resource during the past few decades, the emphasis is still almost excluFigure 1: Sugarcane - a multi-product renewable resource sively on sugar in many countries. Southern Africa is among the regions where the renewable energy potential of sugFigure 2 illustrates the co-product strategies and lists arcane remains largely untapped Investment in the renewthe average yields for the key energy co-products. About able energy and biomass productsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; potential of sugarcane 100 kg of sugar is recovered from each tonne of sugarin this region will support the global transition away from cane processed, while the fibrous fraction (bagasse) can non-renewable resources and towards climate-friendly enprovide around 130 kWh of surplus electricity for export ergy options. The global structure of supply and demand to the grid. Advanced technologies can increase the availin these markets means that North-South and South-South able electricity production to five times this level. Approxicooperation is therefore needed in technology transfer, inmately 8 litres of bioethanol can be produced per tonne of frastructure investment, institution-building and removal cane in distilleries using the final molasses by-product as of trade barriers. a feedstock. The yield of bioethanol can be increased by

Figure 2: Development strategies and sugarcane co-products

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Socioeconomic Impacts Drivers High oil prices Pressure on foreign currency reserves

Co-product Ethanol: large scale

Strategies Fuel blending Export

Impacts Foreign exchange savings Lead emissions

Indicators Qty petrol imported % Ethanol in blend Lead level in soil, air Lower particulates

Limited energy access Ethanol: large/small scale

Decentralised produc- Improved access to tion, local appliances modern energy

% Reliance on traditional fuels

Need for greater energy security

Ethanol: small scale

Kerosene substitute in Cleaner indoor air liquid and gel form Health risk - abuse Land use changes

Incidence of upper respiratory complaints

Power shortage in SADC region

Electricity (bagasse)

Sell to grid Local mini grid

Facilitates productive activities (welding, power tools, cooling...)

Range of Income generating activities, incomes

Need to diversify due to lower sugar prices Environmental concerns

Biogas (anaerobic digestion)

Direct use of gas, sell CO2 Generate electricity

Safe bio-fertiliser, more biomass available. Production of N2 source

Quantity of biomass harvested Quantity of biomass digested Quantity of gas Quantity of mature produced

Note The article is based in part on the following recently published book: Bioenergy for Sustainable Development and International Competitiveness: The Role of Sugar Cane in Africa Edited by Francis X. Johnson and Vikram Seebaluck | Earthscan from Routledge, 2012 |


The magic of the IH technology is more than pulped fiction.

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BIOFUELS AND LAND USE CHANGE Robert Edwards, Luisa Marelli, Declan Mulligan and Monica Padella | Joint Research Centre, European Commission

set of mandatory targets specific to the EU transport sector are included in EU directives, which aims at achieving the overall objective of a sustainably-fuelled transport system, implying that â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;alternativeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fuels must ultimately come from renewable sources. In particular, the Renewable Energy Directive 1 (RED) sets a global target of 20% of renewable energy in the total energy used in the electricity, heat and transport sectors by 2020, and a specific target of 10% in transport (which applies at the same level in each Member State, contrary to the global target, for which there are differentiated national targets). The Fuel Quality Directive 2 (FQD) introduces a target for fuel suppliers to reduce life cycle GHG emissions from fuel and energy in transport by 6% within 2020. Both directives also establish environmental sustainability criteria for biofuels and bio-liquids in identical terms (see box), including a requirement for a 35% reduction in GHG emissions with respect to the fossil fuel in use (50% reduction from 2017). The Commission has the mandate to monitor the compliance of biofuels in use in the EU with the sustainability criteria. Biofuels are expected to play a crucial role to achieve the mandatory targets set by the two directives: according to the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPS)


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that Member States presented to the Commission in 2010, about 9% of total transport fuels (90% of the RED target for transport) will be achieved through biofuels, predominantly biodiesel (about 70%) and ethanol (about 30%) in road fuels. Almost all of this would come from “1st generation” biofuels, made from crops also used for food. If biofuel crops are grown on uncultivated land, such as pasture or forest, this “direct land use change” will generally result in carbon emissions, as, apart from the loss of carbon in the standing forest, there is usually a reduction in soil carbon when natural land is converted to cropland. However, more frequently, crops for biofuels are diverted from existing food production. Then the ‘hole’ in the food supply is filled partly by the expansion of cropland around the world, and this is likely to lead to carbon emissions from indirect land use change (ILUC). Both EU directives specify sustainability criteria which avoid the worst direct land use change emissions: they exclude biofuels coming directly from land with high biodiversity value (primary forests, nature reserves, and highly diverse grasslands) and from land with high carbon stock

(wetlands, forested areas, and peatlands, under certain conditions). However, these criteria cannot deal with ILUC. If we include the ILUC emissions, some types of biofuels may not achieve the specified minimum (or indeed any) GHG savings. Deciding how to account for ILUC emissions in policy depends on the answers to two questions: • Do all biofuels have similar ILUC emissions, or do they differ, for example, between ethanol and biodiesel? • In a global agricultural market, how important is it where biofuels are produced? We cannot measure ILUC directly, even in retrospect. That is because we can never measure what would have happened without biofuels; one would need a global agroeconomic model to estimate that. In that case, it is more useful to use the models to make forward projections, usually to 2020. Then the ILUC emissions associated with EU biofuels policy are shown by the difference in world land use between a “policy” scenario, which promotes biofuels, and a “baseline” scenario, which does not. There are several models of the world agro-economic system which have been used to evaluate the ILUC effects of biofuels. The models contain many parameters which are determined by econometric fitting to historical statistical data. However, this is challenging because of the scatter in statistical agricultural data (due to weather variations), and because many parameters vary simultaneously with time. Thus different groups deduce different values for the same parameters. Also, as models differ in their approach and structure, many of the parameters in one model cannot be compared with those in another. Furthermore, until 2009, each model had been used to study different mixes of biofuels made in different places, so it was impossible to compare the results of different models. Therefore JRC commissioned different modelers to examine comparable biofuel scenarios, and analyzed the tables of results to show how and why models differ. As a result, we can get an insight into why models give differing results [JRC 2010]. Agro-economic models see biofuels as an increase in crop demand, (which is partly compensated by the return of by-products from fermentation and oilseed crushing to the animal feed sector). This results in increased prices for crops which cause both the supply to increase and the competing demand to decrease (the split varies between models, but usually the two are comparable in size). The competing crop demand is, of course, predominantly for food and animal feed. The use of biofuel by-products as animal feed often roughly cancel the effects on that sector, 31 Be

but the models derive a significant part of the crops for biofuel from a reduction in human food consumption. That contribution to biofuel feedstock is free of ILUC emissions, so the more food consumption is reduced in a model, the lower the calculated ILUC emissions tend to be. Thus there is a trade-off in the model results between emissions reductions and food security. Turning to the increase in supply, only part of this comes from expansion of crop area: models assume that the increased price will also cause crop yields to increase above baseline 3 . This is another controFigure 1: “Marginal yield” In this example, wheat production increases whilst the production of other crops is held constant. There is a cascade of crop replacements versial area where there are signifito lower-yielding, more robust, crops. If we take into account the yield-spreads, the cant differences between models. area of grazing-land lost is much greater than the area of wheat expansion Another way models differ is the way they treat crop displacements. variations even between different fields on a single farm. Some have a single yield per crop per region: then if, for In terms of overall results, the existing economic modexample, corn area grows at the expense of rye, there is a els all showed an ILUC effect. The estimated crop area jump in cereals production with no change in overall crop increases for one million tons of oil equivalent of biofuel area. Other models assume one crop replaces another at ranged from about 100 to about 1900 square kilometers constant value ($/ha), eliminating this effect. However, this in the case of biodiesel, and from about 100 to about 900 introduces another source of “ILUC-free” production, when square kilometers in the case of bioethanol. low-value crops expand at the expense of expensive speTo estimate GHG emissions from ILUC, economic modcialty crops in the model (e.g. maize instead of olives or els have to be coupled to another model which allocates fruit). One can think of this as land diverted to biofuels at the predicted crop area expansion to different existing land the expense of food quality. uses, and then calculates the emissions from each land-use Finally, models treat “marginal yield” differently. Modchange. These emissions arise from: els which have a fixed (or practically fixed) yield of a given • loss of standing biomass (which is often burned, or decrop in a given region are assuming that the land at the froncomposes on site), tier of cultivation is just as fertile as average land, and capa• loss, by oxidation, of organic matter in the soil in the ble of growing high-yield crops. This might apply to some years after conversion. As well as carbon emissions, developing regions where good land is still uncultivated some of the nitrogen in the organic matter is released as because of limited transport access, but in general one exnitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse-gas. pects new cropland to have lower yields and to grow more As not all economic models come with such a module, the robust, less intensive crops (fig.1). Other models attempt to JRC developed one (the Spatial Allocation Model, SAM) estimate this spread of yields. However, the tendency is to and applied it to the output of different models, in particuunderestimate the spread, because statistics are only availlar to the output of the global economic model MIRAGE able at a coarse level, whereas there are considerable yield run by the International Food and Policy Research Institute

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Directive 2009/28/EC of 23 April 2009.


Directive 2009/30/EC of 23 April 2009.


Improvements in crop yield which depend only on time occur both in the policy scenario and baseline and therefore roughly cancel out when the difference is taken.


(IFPRI) for the European Commission in 2011. The scenario considered by IFPRI was based on the estimates of the NREAPs of the EU Member States. In this scenario, a total 1st generation biofuels blend of 8.7%, with a spread bioethanol/biodiesel of 22%-78% (NREAP “full mandate”) was assumed. Based on the results of the IFPRI model, the JRC estimated that the increased biofuels demand will cause ILUC GHG emissions of about 36 gCO2/MJ. This result also includes emissions from peatland drainage due to oil palm plantations mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia, which amount to about 55% of the total. If one also considers that the extensive use of bioenergy crops will have impacts also on biodiversity, water use and consumption, land and forest degradation etc., avoiding ILUC becomes fundamental to improving the sustainability of biofuels, and for achieving the climate change mitigation objectives of biofuel support mechanisms.

Most of the above issues, in particular Biofuels/Bioenergy impacts on environment and food, will be discussed during the opening event of the 20th International Biomass Conference, the World Forum on “Fuel, Food and the Environment: The Bioenergy Challenge”, organized by the JRC together with the Italian Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea, the Commissioner General of Expo Milano 2015 and Regione Lombardia. The main purpose of the forum is to stimulate open discussion from all stake-holders on the future of bioenergy and biofuels, and specifically on how policy makers can steer a sustainable course through the many complex issues within the biofuel debate. The event comes at a crucial moment for Europe as the EU Commission is proposing new legislation to account for side effects (ILUC) in biofuels policy, and it becomes fundamental to get an insight on how to get the policies right to bring land into more productive use, allowing to de-carbonise the society, while producing enough food and taking care of the environment.

Sustainability criteria for biofuels The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) sets out sustainability criteria that biofuels have to meet to be produced or imported into the European Union. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: GHG savings from the use of biofuels and bioliquids shall be at least 35%. This percentage will rise to 50% in 2017 and 60% in 2018. Biodiversity protection: biofuels shall not be made from raw materials obtained from areas with high biodiversity value, including primary forests. Land use: biofuels shall not be made from raw materials obtained from land with high carbon stock, such as wetlands, forested areas and peatland. Sustainable agriculture: agricultural raw material used for the production of biofuels shall be obtained in accordance with the requirements and standards of the European Regulation and with the minimum requirements for good agricultural and environmental condition, even if produced outside Europe. JRC (2010) Edwards, R., Mulligan, D. and Marelli, L. "Indirect Land Use Change from increased biofuels demand: Comparison of models and results for marginal biofuels production from different feedstocks". EUR 24485. Luxembourg: Joint Research Centre, European Commission (doi: 10.2788/54137)

Figure 2: Switching tropical peat swamp forests into agricultural area (mainly for oil palm plantations) causes huge GHG emissions from peat oxidation, and loss of biodiversity

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SUSTAINABILITY OF BIOENERGY - TRADE AND MARKET ISSUES Luc Pelkmans, Liesbet Goovaerts, Nathalie Devriendt | VITO Peter-Paul Schouwenberg | RWE-Essent

iomass (solid, liquid and gaseous) is considered to play a key role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the energy supply diversity and security. In terms of biofuels for transport, several countries and regions have introduced mandates and targets for biofuels uptake in the transport fuel system. Production, international trade and investment have increased rapidly in the past few years. This has triggered high debate: environmental, social and economic concerns arose about the production of biomass feedstocks for biofuels. The sustainability of biofuels, food versus fuel, and land use change discussions overshadow the positive effects including CO2-reduction and the potential to replace fossil fuels. As an answer to these concerns the European Commission introduced sustainability crite-


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ria in the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), imposing sustainability requirements to biofuels for transport and bioliquids (for stationary bioenergy) marketed in the European Union. The discussion of using solid biomass for bioenergy (mainly for stationary energy like electricity and heat) follows with some delay the discussions around biofuels for transport. While the discussion for biofuels focused on food versus fuel and land use change, the discussion for solid biomass focuses on risks for biodiversity and carbon stock loss in forests. Sustainability criteria and schemes are being developed for solid biomass for energy, but implementation in legislation is less developed than for biofuels. Mind that sustainable forestry management schemes like FSC or PEFC are applied in forests, albeit that they remain


voluntary and not specifically dedicated to energy use of the biomass. The development of sustainability criteria and certification schemes for biomass and biofuels has brought a lot of discussion on their drawbacks, limitations and impact on the bioenergy deployment and trade. Within the network of IEA Bioenergy Task 40 (Sustainable Bioenergy Trade), a prospective study was carried out to look at the implementation of mandatory sustainability requirements for biomass (liquid, solid and gaseous) in energy legislation, and discuss the market issues seen or expected for commercial and administrative actors. The study entitled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Implementation of sustainability requirements for biofuels and bioenergy and related issues for markets and tradeâ&#x20AC;? was performed in the period 2011 - early 2012. The full report is available at the IEA Bioenergy Task 40 website ( The study was partly based on public information, partly on input provided by Task 40 members, and resulted in a number of main barriers and concerns related to the implementation of sustainability requirements in energy legislation, as described below.

Variety and proliferation of sustainability criteria and schemes In 2010 IEA Bioenergy Task 40 provided an overview of existing initiatives related to biomass/bioenergy sustainability. The study by J. van Dam 1 found 67 initiatives, with 27 of them specifically covering sustainability criteria for biofuels or bioenergy. This indicates that a lot of work has been done across the globe in taking actions and measures to ensure and secure sustainable biomass and bioenergy production in the future.

Existing certification systems are developed for specific sectors (e.g. forestry, agriculture, specific biofuel feedstock, bioenergy production) with different purposes (e.g. sustainable management of forest, health and safety of products, energy security, climate change) and so the sustainability criteria and requirements are developed differently. The biofuels/bioenergy certification schemes require additional sustainability criteria compared to the certification schemes for agriculture and forestry, such as carbon stock, GHG emissions, land use changes and socio-economic demands, which were not considered relevant for sustainable agriculture of forestry. So requirements depend on the purpose of the scheme. While sustainability criteria for biofuels (for transport) and bioliquids (for stationary energy) in the EU are directly related to the Renewable Energy Directive requirements and valid on EU-wide level, in terms of solid biomass there are no obligated criteria. The main importing countries of solid biomass have started (or are planning) to develop their own national sustainability requirements. At the same time industrial and market business-to-business schemes are being developed. This has led and will lead to certification schemes (voluntary and mandatory) which are not necessarily complementary or compatible. This variety of sustainability initiatives and requirements, lack of coherence and considerable overlaps between standards is leading to confusion and reduces acceptance among the stakeholders which may limit the effectiveness, lead to loss of meaningful participation and distortion of the market. The exact impact remains to be seen in the future. If forced externally, there is the risk that countries will choose the model that requires the least change or efforts.

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There might be a tendency also from the industry side to use the commercial cheapest system with the least demanding auditing system, much to the disappointment of several NGOs. Poor performers could potentially hide in this confusing context and/or biomass crops will flow to markets that do not require certification. A strong and common approach, building upon existing governance and certification practises, may help to reduce concerns. This would also reduce transaction costs, as rather uniform information is required and thereby facilitate trade.

Discrimination in the use of biomass Biomass for energy can be produced from various crops, which can also be used for food, feed or materials. Currently only the use for biofuels needs to fulfil sustainability requirements on EU level. Other, similar commodities with similar environmental, social and GHG impact do not require this. Stakeholders producing biomass for biofuels on the one hand, for stationary energy on the other hand, or for other applications (food, materials) are thus currently facing discrimination in conditions for being allowed to deliver their biomass. Farmers delivering their corn to a transport biofuel installation need to be in line with the obligated sustainability criteria. The same farmer providing his corn to a biogas installation (combined with electricity production) doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to fulfil these criteria, nor when he delivers his product to the food and feed markets. An important issue is the willingness and cooperation of the biomass producers, especially from agriculture (for biofuels) and forestry (for solid biomass). If additional auditing is needed for agricultural products going to biofuels (as compared to other agricultural markets), or for solid biomass used for energy (as compared to the wood material market), this may diminish the willingness of the agricultural and forestry sector to deliver feedstock for biofuel markets, unless there is an higher price paid for these certified products (which is hardly the case currently). On the other hand if products with guaranteed sustainability are diverted to energy markets, this may lead to indirect displacement effects as non-sustainable products will be directed to markets which do not require proof of sustainability. Criteria for sustainable production of liquid, solid and gaseous biomass should ideally be based on the same concepts, and should be meant for all uses of biomass since producers of raw materials do not necessarily know about their end users. These sustainability criteria have to be implemented in 36 Be

a very careful and practical way, bearing in mind two key purposes: to ensure the sustainable production of biomass and an acceptable greenhouse gas balance for biomass utilized for energy production. They should be based on clear and measurable indicators, taking into account the widely different environmental and technical issues in different countries and climatic zones.

Issues for administrations One of the main issues for administrations is to come to a level playing field and an efficient European/global market. Establishing a common â&#x20AC;&#x153;one-stop-shopâ&#x20AC;? approach would allow for more efficient structures, save costs due to better management practices, ease administration tasks involved and make it unnecessary for industries to create new standards. However there is still the ongoing debate on how to solve some methodological issues related to the sustainability of bioenergy, such as the role of indirect land use, the competition of food versus fuel, or the concept of carbon debt. A key point for administrations is the control of the criteria and requirements. There is some risk that global sustainability criteria will not be interpreted the same way and will be applied differently at national level. Also the quality of institutional frameworks may vary among the different countries. Some developing countries lack a proper legal framework related to agriculture and forest management. Poor law enforcement may lead to reduced effectiveness. Clear auditing processes and accreditation of auditors will avoid fraud and give trust to the system. To ensure proper auditing and compliance, the requirements will have to be based on precise and strong criteria that can actually be monitored by specifying quantitative or clear qualitative indicators. Voluntary systems have become an important element in the mix of public policies and corporate strategies to promote the sustainable production of biomass due to the lack of proper regulations. However voluntary systems still allow room for non-sustainable biomass, which may be damaging for the credibility. Voluntary initiatives are a necessary, but probably not a sufficient element in the mix of policy instruments to move towards the objective of sustainable bioenergy. The voluntary versus mandatory debate rather implies to find of a balance between regulation and voluntary schemes. Voluntary systems can be an effective tool in complementing regulations to improve the awareness, facilitate the discussion on the implications of certification and provide a forum for information sharing among various stakeholders.


Issues for commercial actors On the producer side there is the risk that different markets have different requirements on the biomass production side, which leads to confusion (see previous discussion). Stakeholders of solid and liquid biofuel markets have indicated a preference for governmental involvement regarding sustainability issues (van Doren, 2010) 2 . Important issues for investors in installations producing bioenergy are clarity in long term policy objectives and the uncertainty whether their biomass fulfils all current and future sustainability requirements. The European Commission is evaluating the situation on sustainability requirements year by year, but investors are taking investment decisions now with long term contracts for their biomass. It is perceived as a huge problem by investors that methodological issues like the inclusion of indirect land use change, or the discussion on carbon debt remains unclear. The biofuels business has already shown that uncertainties in policies and regulations cause markets to stagnate. Specific requirements should be designed with transparency and with the collaboration of stakeholders along the way. Apart from the proliferation of certification schemes, principles, criteria and indicators, and the potential overlaps of the sustainability systems for the bioenergy sector with existing systems for agricultural and forestry products, there is also the issue of partial recognition of certification schemes. Partial recognition gives an opportunity for existing schemes, which were not set up for the bioenergy sector or which did not include all legislative sustainability criteria from the beginning, to participate and improve. This applies, for example, to some of the Round Table initiatives (e.g. RSPO, RTRS) and forest certification schemes like FSC and PEFC. A set-back of this partial recognition, however, is that double certification will be needed and that this might lead to increased financial and administrative burdens, especially for smallholders. A general fear of smallholders is that the administrative burden will grow with certification. For the agricultural sector in the EU the cross-compliance is a step in the right direction to limit the administrative paper work. The European forestry sector is also asking for a similar system instead of certification schemes.

also share in technology and investment, should be given to these countries to be able to catch up.

Good energy practices While markets and trade are mostly thinking in terms of commodities, the life cycle thinking for bioenergy (e.g. in terms of GHG impact and energy use) implies that end use of the biomass should also be considered. A sustainable bioenergy system must be a responsibly produced (i.e. complying with ambitious social and environmental standards), energy efficient and resource efficient system that has a high potential for mitigating climate change. Biomass availability is limited and sustainability criteria for biomass and biofuels should therefore also take into account an efficient use of (bio)energy. Input energy must be minimized in all phases of the production system and the use of bioenergy should be as efficient as possible. Of course this should not only be valid for biomass, but also for other resources and energy carriers. If energy use (in general) would keep growing, the development of bioenergy would only chase a receding target.

Further work Early 2012 a strategic IEA Bioenergy study was started â&#x20AC;&#x153;Monitoring Sustainability Certification of Bioenergyâ&#x20AC;?, also building upon the Task 40 study described above. The study is a collaboration between Task 40 (Sustainable Bioenergy Trade), Task 43 (Biomass Feedstocks for Energy Markets) and Task 38 (Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems). The idea behind this strategic study is to build further upon on-going efforts in the three Tasks to address the following project objectives: monitor the actual implementation process of sustainability certification of bioenergy, evaluate how stakeholders are affected by certification initiatives, quantify the anticipated impact on worldwide bioenergy trade, and make recommendations on how the different certification schemes could be streamlined and coordinated to remove barriers which may depress markets and reduce sustainable trade. The study is on-going and in May 2012 a global survey is launched to investigate the operational experiences of people actively involved with bioenergy production systems and sustainability certification.

Developments in third countries The implementation of sustainable systems - as conceived by Northern countries - generally requires a much bigger leap for third countries to reach a certain threshold because of lack of technology and capital. Non-tariff barriers to international trade could result from that. Time, but


van Dam J, et al. From the global efforts on certification of bioenergy towards an integrated approach based on sustainable land use planning. Renew Sustain Energy Rev (2010), doi:10.1016/j. rser.2010.07.010.


Van Doren D., Developing biofuels markets: the importance of standardisation in supply chain management, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, December 2010.

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A Bio-trade Equity Fund to Unlock New Biomass Trade Douglas Bradley | Climate Change Solutions

he EU has accepted a legally binding target

ized port facilities. Investments would be supported by

of 20% renewable energy by 2020, and rec-

long-term feedstock supply agreements near the plants,

ognizes that to reach the 3-10 times necessary

and long-term off-take agreements in Europe or Asia. The

growth in bioenergy will require long-distance

fund would reduce risk by: investing in the whole chain,

biomass trade. Today such trade consists pri-

thus reducing the risk of any one component in the chain;

marily of wood pellets from Canada and US to Europe,

and diversifying by spreading investments over several

and ethanol from Brazil to nations worldwide. While

projects and regions. Risk would be reduced further by

Canada, US and Brazil have huge biomass potential, there

partnering with international development institutions

are large amounts of biomass in other regions; agricul-

like IFC and World Bank.


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tural residue in the Caribbean, diseased wood in Africa,

A prospective Fund manager is now setting-up the Fund

plantation potential in Oceania, mill residue in South

with intent to raise capital in 2012-13 and begin invest-

Americas etc. These sources remain untapped due to lack

ing in 2013. A management team will be assembled of

of infrastructure and capital, political risk etc. It is often

3-4 experts who have an understanding of biomass and

considered too risky for an individual investor to commit

bioenergy risk. Project evaluators will be added to find

capital to a bioenergy plant that is not supported by lo-

and assess â&#x201A;Ź2-300 million in investment opportunities of

cal markets, or good port facilities. Also, the investment

varying risks and returns. Investing will begin with high-

community does not fully understand that most bioenergy

return plants and supply chains in low risk countries to

plants and supply chains are proven technology. A pro-

establish a Fund track record, followed by higher risk in-

posed Bio-trade Equity Fund would enable investing in

vestments in low-risk regions, or low-risk investments in

regions of low-cost biomass at manageable risk and supe-

medium risk regions and so forth. The fund is expected to

rior returns. The concept is to invest in the whole supply

have achieve a rate of return of 29-30%, and have a 7-8

chain; right-sized production plants, efficient gathering

year term, long enough to have a meaningful impact in

and transport of raw biomass and product, even special-

reaching renewable energy targets in 2020.

want to burn or gasify biomass? we let you know how to

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EXPERIENCES WITH NTA 8080 SUSTAINABILITY SCHEME Jarno Dakhorst, Harmen Willemse, Harold Pauwels, Ortwin Costenoble | NEN Delft


oth the Netherlands and Europe have set tar-

A working group was established with twenty five re-

gets to increase the share of renewable energy

presentatives from power companies, biomass producers

in the total energy consumption in the com-

and processors, non-governmental organizations, oil and

ing years. Biomass plays an important role in

gas companies, government, research institutes, certifica-

achieving these targets.

tion bodies and consultancy. In a timeframe of about eight

Nevertheless the use of biomass for energy applications

raises questions concerning the sustainability of biomass

months this working group developed the standard NTA 8080, which was published in March 2009.

production. In order to cope with these risks, it is impor-

NTA 8080 describes the requirements for sustainably

tant to make agreements on the sustainable production,

produced biomass for energy applications: power, hea-

processing and use of biomass. In this context one spea-

ting, cooling and fuels.

ks about sustainability criteria for biomass. Certification

NTA 8080 is intended to be applied to organizations

is mostly considered to be the instrument to demonstrate


compliance with sustainability requirements.

In order to address the sustainability issues about biomass adequately, the Dutch government established in early 2006 the project group “Sustainable production of biomass”. Dutch parties, amongst others private enterprises, government and non-governmental organizations, are

sell this as sustainably produced; •

get a standard describing the sustainability requirements was needed and in 2008 NEN, the Netherlands Standardization Institute and the Dutch representative in European and international standardization, was asked to facilitate the process. 40 Be

wish to process or convert biomass and sell this as sustainably obtained and sustainably processed;

wish to trade and/or transport biomass and need to demonstrate that (a part of) the cargo is produced,

aiming at the use of certified sustainably produced biomass for energy applications. In order to achieve this tar-

wish to produce biomass for energy purposes and to

processed and obtained as sustainable; •

wish to use processed biomass for generation of energy or production of transportation fuel and need to demonstrate that a part of the biomass is produced, processed and obtained as sustainable.




1: Green house gas balance

Emission savings compared with fossil reference: ● 70% for power & heat, reference coal-fired installations; innovative technologies 50% ● 50% for power & heat, reference gas-fired installations ● 60% for biogas ● 50% for biofuels; 35% for some biofuels (Directive 2009/28/EC, Annex V) till 2012

2: Carbon stocks

For new production units: ● exclusion of areas with high above-ground carbon stocks ● exclusion of areas with high risk of significant carbon losses from the soil ● carbon losses shall be compensated within ten years

3: Competition with food and other local applications

Reporting of information, if available, about: ● land use changes ● changes in land and food prices ● availability of biomass for food, energy supply, construction materials, medicines, etc.

4: Biodiversity

For new production units: ● exclusion of gazetted protected areas and high conservation value areas incl. 5 km zone around; under some conditions activities still possible ● 10% of functional area covered with original vegetation ● For all production units: ● compliance with national and local relevant legislation ● measures to conserve, recover and strengthen biodiversity

5: Soil quality

● compliance with national or local relevant legislation ● measures to preserve and improve soil quality ● conditions for use of residues

6: Water quality

● compliance with national or local relevant legislation ● measures to preserve and improve water quality ● no use of non-renewable water sources

7: Air quality

● compliance with national or local relevant legislation ● measures to preserve and improve air quality ● no burning during construction and operation; under conditions possible

8: Prosperity

● measures to involve local population (also in management) and contribute to local economy

9: Social well-being

● practices and measures to: ○ provide good working conditions ○ respect human rights ○ respect property rights ○ contribute to local social well-being ○ prevent corruption and improve integrity Table 1 summarizes the sustainability requirements of NTA 8080

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Greenhouse Gas Calculations Concerning the greenhouse gas calculation, reference is made to the BioGrace tool for biofuels and bioliquids, (funded within the Intelligent Energy Europe Program-

ceptable, but result in different sustainability claims. The characteristics of the three chain models are summarized in table 2.

NTA 8081 Certification Scheme

me) and the Dutch CO2 tool for solid and gaseous bio-

The next step after developing NTA 8080 with the re-

mass. The BioGrace tool includes the calculation metho-

quirements for sustainable biomass production was deve-

dology as required by Directive 2009/28/EC. The CO2

loping of a certification scheme with the rules for certifi-

tool applies the calculation methodology as included in

cation against NTA 8080.

the European report on sustainability requirements for the

The stakeholders involved decided to develop and ma-

use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in electricity,

nage a certification scheme, NTA 8081, under the umbrel-

heating and cooling (note of the editor: the BioGrace tool

la of NEN Scheme management. The draft NTA 8081 was validated by a number of na-

is featured in BE-Sustainable Issue 0).

Indirect effects

tional projects first. International projects have been ini-

When developing NTA 8080 it was recognized that pro-

tiated to apply NTA 8080 and NTA 8081 in various re-

ducers take responsibility at company level concerning

gions across the world as well. The first formal version of

preventing negative indirect effects as a precaution. Be-

NTA 8081 was published in December 2010.

cause the risk of these indirect effects depends on factors

The NTA 8081 certification scheme can be used by re-

that are beyond the control of companies, such as the total

cognized certification bodies by means of entering into an

demand for a certain raw material or the governmental

agreement with NEN and introduces four types of organi-

policy with regard to land use planning, an individual

zations within the supply chain: ‘Producer’ for the organization that produces the prima-

company is not able to fully map the possible indirect effects. It is the responsibility of governments to take care

ry biomass or collects residual flows;

of this. Nevertheless, a reporting requirement has been

converts the primary biomass;

included to provide governments the necessary information, if available, and to estimate possible risks on nega-

‘End-user’ for the organization that uses the biomass for the generation of electricity and heat or produc-

with the sustainability criteria should organize in some

tion of biogas or biofuel.

way a management system, or re-organize their existing

Most of the efforts to implement and comply with the

one system. Some of the requirements, e.g. in the field

sustainability requirements is for the 'producer', but also

of soil, water and air quality are formulated in the plan-

other organizations in the supply chain shall be certified

do-check-act approach inciting organizations to strive for

to ensure the chain-of-custody. For certification purposes,

continual improvement.

the book and claim model is excluded. In this way, only


the original amount of certified produced biomass can be

end of the supply chain can rightly declare that its product


system. Organizations that will demonstrate compliance

In order to make it possible that the organization at the


‘Trader’ for the organization that trades in the biomass;

tive indirect effects. NTA 8080 does not prescribe a quality management

‘Processor’ for the organization that processes and

claimed as sustainably produced biomass. A certificate is valid for five years.

complies with the applicable sustainability requirements,

The certification scheme is based on process certifica-

apart from certification of the producer of the primary

tion. As the product does not contain physical characte-

biomass against a sustainability standard, a chain-of-cu-

ristics to distinguish sustainable from non-sustainable

stody is needed for the entire supply chain of production,

biomass (i.e. the sustainability cannot be concluded from

processing, trade and end-use. In general, three main dif-

analysing a biomass sample), product certification is not

ferent chain models exist, namely segregation, mass ba-

an alternative.

lance and book & claim. The three chain models make

The certification scheme is managed by the committee

different demands on infrastructure, logistical approach

of experts under the umbrella of NEN Scheme manage-

and administrative systems. The three models are all ac-

ment. A web portal is available that provides the necessa-



Description for each model

Mixture of certified and noncertified material is possible ● Segregation


● Mass balance


● Book & claim


Sustainability claim for the end product ● Segregation

Product is made of 100% certified material

● Mass balance

Product is partially made of certified material. The noncertified part does not count for the sustainability performance

● Book & claim

It is not needed that the product consists physically of certified material but somewhere in the world an equivalent amount of certified material produced of the same type exists and the certificate belonging to this is sold to the supplier of this product

Field of application ● Segregation

The entire chain from primary biomass to end product, that can be subject to several conversion steps

● Mass balance

The entire chain from primary biomass to end product, that can be subject to several conversion steps

● Book & claim

Part of the chain where no conversion occurs

Physical requirements ● Segregation

Separate systems (by time or location) for certified and non-certified material

● Mass balance

A system in which mixture is not excluded

● Book & claim

A system in which measures to realize separation are not of importance

Administrative requirements ● Segregation

Tracking of each certified consignment through the chain

● Mass balance

Tracking of each certified load and each non-certified charge that is mixed with certified material

● Book & claim

The issued certificate at the source can only be claimed once in the chain to make sustainability claims Table 2: Characteristics of models for chain of custody

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ry information, documentation and tools concerning the

international applications, based on the fact that the Ne-

certification system based on NTA 8080. This portal in-

therlands have to import most of their biomass to meet

cludes also a list of certification bodies that have entered

the renewable energy targets (14% of total energy con-

into agreement with NEN Scheme management as well

sumption in 2020). Several (pilot) projects are running

as a register with the companies to which an NTA 8080

in several continents to implement NTA 8080. Training

certificate has been granted.

events have been and are organized in target countries,

Experiences after one year of NTA 8080 certification

such as the Ukraine and Indonesia, in order to increase

The NTA 8080 certification system is operational since the beginning of 2011. In September 2010 the system has

awareness about sustainability and to introduce the NTA 8080 certification system as instrument to demonstrate sustainable production.

been submitted to the European Commission in order to

NTA 8080 was developed as part of a three-stage ro-

qualify for recognition as voluntary scheme to demonstra-

cket. The standard has been brought forward in both the

te compliance with Directive 2009/28/EC. The first NTA

European and international standardization processes.

8080 certificates have been issued in February 2011. After

Since trade in biomass occurs in a global market, the bio-

one year seventeen companies have been certified against

mass sector will most benefit from an international stan-

NTA 8080, but more companies are almost ready to obtain

dard. Many countries all over the world are involved in

the certificate. Currently, all companies are located in the

this process and would most probably apply this standard

Netherlands and show a broad variety of activities from

after publication.

production of wood pellets to biogas. Many companies

When revising NTA 8080, international standards such

use residues and waste to produce biomass products and

as the EN 16214 series and the future ISO 13065 will be

bioenergy. As of April 2012 the European Commission

taken into account and integrated wherever possible. By

has to initiate the external procedure for recognition of

adopting European standards and alignment with interna-

the NTA 8080 certification system as voluntary scheme to

tional standards the NTA 8080 certification system will

demonstrate compliance with Directive 2009/28/EC.

ensure to apply globally accepted sustainability criteria

International application

for bioenergy and in this way facilitate trade across the

The NTA 8080 certification system is developed for


A training event of NTA 8080 in Ukraine

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The overall objective of EERA Bioenergy is to: Â&#x2021;$OLJQSUHFRPSHWLWLYHUHVHDUFKDFWLYLWLHVDW((5$ PHPEHULQVWLWXWHVWRJLYHDVFLHQWLILFEDVLV WRFRQWLQXHGHYHORSLQJQH[WJHQHUDWLRQELRIXHOV Â&#x2021;([SORUHWKHSRVVLELOLWLHVIRUMRLQWWHFKQRORJ\GHYHORSPHQW The more efficient use of R&D investments that this Joint Programme foresees will contribute to an acceleration of the development of next generation conversion and upgrading technologies


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Sustainable Biomass for Electricity Conference The Highlights Marina Ploutakhina and Alessandro Flammini | UNIDO

he Sustainable Biomass for Electricity (SB4E) Conference took place at the European Center for Renewable Energy in Guessing (Austria) from 2 to 3 May 2012, bringing together 140 participants from 30 countries around the world. The Conference was organized by UN-Energy, represented by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) and IEA Bioenergy. The event was co-sponsored by the private sector partners, including Eskom, Dong Energy, Eon and Bioelectric Solutions and the EEE center. A broad range of participants from UN organizations, governments, other international organizations, the public and private sectors, financial institutions, civil society and academia gathered in Guessing to examine ways of mobilizing the biomass resource in a sustainable way, thus contributing to a low-carbon economy and improving access to energy for all. This article provides the highlights of the conference debate and the main conclusions and outcomes of the conference. Energy deficit remains pervasive in many developing countries, depriving billions from productivity, prosperity, and comfort. About 1.4 billion people are without access to electricity, and current trends indicate that this will not change significantly by 2030. Furthermore, it is estimated that 2.5 billion people will still use traditional biomass for cooking in 2030, and that the related health effects will result in 1.5 million premature deaths per year, mostly among women and children. The full deployment of modern bioenergy and bioelectricity are fundamental building blocks in order to develop a local green economy through the establishment of sustainable supply chains.


The Conference provided an opportunity discuss the role of sustainable biomass in furthering access to sustainable energy and to share relevant experiences as well as to join efforts towards a common understanding of sustainable biomass for electricity opportunities and challenges. In this regard, Africa is expected to play a major role as a biomass producer and will stand to realize multiple benefits related to regional development and environmental, 46 Be

social, and economic gains, such as the creation of green jobs and greater access to energy. However, exploiting biomass for electricity generation could be complicated: there are important challenges to be overcome, such as lack of appropriate infrastructure, high variability of feedstock quality, trade implications, the problem of competing uses for biomass and the perceived negative impacts and concerns by the general public. Supporting policy and the involvement of policy makers, local stakeholders and financial institutions are key to foster the investments needed for the establishment of sustainable biomass supply chains, also with reference to public acceptance. The contribution of bioenergy (both feedstock and power production) to development and green growth could be significant, but straight forward and appropriate assessments are needed as the sector develops. Investments must also demonstrate how hosting countries are going to benefit the most from new wood plantations and production capacity, and innovative solutions and business models, which leverage large-scale investments at the advantage of local smallscale development, still need to be proven and eventually scaled up. There are several initiatives worldwide addressing sustainability of solid biomass. Most part of them are aimed at removing trade barriers, some address sustainability but in an incomplete and/or inconsistent way. Further, a common definition of sustainability for solid biomass is still lacking but existing internationally agreed indicators such as the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) indicators or the ISO indicators under development, could be used as a basis for future discussions. A proposal for a sustainable biomass for electricity public-private partnership was presented by the private sector partners, providing a joint declaration of intents to promote biomass use for power generation, complying with mutually agreed sustainability principles, for the establishment of sustainable supply chains for the benefit of both foreign utilities and local communities. Presentations made at the Conference (see http://www. provided information on the


growing number of wood plantations in the SSA region but the current trend is still too low to meet the increasing demand. Important investments are urgently needed to unlock SSAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biomass potential in order to meet local needs while producing a biomass surplus that can be exported to other continents. The Conference highlighted the need for international organizations to collaborate with the private sector and other interested stakeholders to advance R&D on important topics such as: competition between use of agricultural and forest residues and raw material from forest operations; assessment of potential sources of feedstocks for large scale operations. More work is needed on the assessment of technical and sustainable biomass potential in order to set sensible targets for biomass final use. At the same time it is important to implement the knowledge acquired by UN agencies on sustainable bioenergy, making use of and building upon recent experience gained with liquid biofuel development. This would help to avoid some of the mistakes encountered in the past. It was recognized that it is time to move from debate to action and it was proposed to start implement joint pilot initiatives together with the private sector partners and hosting governments regarding low-risk options to be collectively

defined, and using available sustainable bioenergy tools. Several technology options exist today for power generation from biomass that are both efficient and cost-effective. The Guessing experience provides a good example of the development of a biomass-based renewable energy sector and associated green economy. This also applies to successful and innovative business models that help to capitalise on the interest of big utilities demanding high quality pellets to help develop an industry in developing countries that caters for both markets, export and local, working together in order to meet the SE4All goals. These models should be developed, replicated and scaled-up. The proposal of a partnership and or a declaration was discussed and, while it was recognized that the text required more work in terms of content and scope, this would potentially lay the basis for the development of a public-private partnership for the sustainable production and use of solid biomass for heat and power. This option will be further explored by UN-Energy and interested partners appropriate consultation and international collaboration. For more information a complete report and more information about the SB4E Conference can be found on the UN-Energy website at


Darren McGarry | Joint Research Centre, European Commission

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urope is facing a massive energy and environmental challenge - How to secure competitive and clean energy against a backdrop of climate change, escalating global energy demand and supply uncertainties. A common European response is necessary to ensure a sustainable, secure and competitive future. Through the Europe 2020 strategy a solid and ambitious European framework for energy policy is currently being developed, and implemented. The strategy tackles the key challenges of sustainability, security of supply, and competitiveness, However other key challenges, namely public awareness and acceptance of new (and existing) energy technologies are key to pushing forward this ambitious plan.


The Communication challenge When researchers communicate it is sometimes difficult for the layman to grasp the essence of the message,because the message is often complex, mathematical, and often with a specific vocabulary. As communicators we need to facilitate the information flow between science, politicians and the citizens in-order to ensure that todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and tomorrowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s voters and leaders can make sound and well informed decisions.

Communication experts working hand in hand with scientists need to translate complex scientific terminology and data into a language which is comprehensible and relevant to the targeted audience allowing them to form their own decisions based on good understanding and not just on slogans and biased opinions of others.

Citizenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attitudes, perceptions and awareness of low carbon energy technologies There is significant data available regarding consumer surveys related to energy and climate change concepts. For example, the various EU Special Eurobarometer reports (e.g. Public awareness and acceptance of CO2 capture and storage), and the Pike Research Report, Energy & Environment Consumer Survey see figures 2, 3 and 4. A common conclusion from such surveys is the need to inform consumers and to raise awareness of specific energy technologies.

Providing Society with the fundamental building blocks The communication challenge is complex, but it is key in promoting innovation, development and deployment of new energy technologies. The price of failure is too high. Scientists, policy makers, and communication experts need to built an environment of knowledge and trust with society. There are many examples of public acceptance effecting the deployment of energy technologies, (for example nuclear energy, gas storage and Carbon Capture & Storage). We need to provide society, with the fundamental building blocks of energy technologies, drivers and consequences. Citizens need to be provided with the key unbiased facts and the pros and cons of each energy source .

Figure 1: Communicators need to provide the fundamental building blocks

Figure 2: Overall Impressions of Biofuels

Figure 3: Favourable Impressions of Biofuels by Demographic Segment

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Figure 4: Overall Impressions of Smart Grids

Science Communication is a key priority for the Joint Research Centre At the Joint Research Centre, (the European Commission’s in house science service) science communication is a key priority, and a team of communication experts and scientists at the JRC’s Institute for Energy and Transport have been pioneering this work. To date, four major projects have been completed, (Details of projects 1-3 will be included in a subsequent article on energy communication). 1. A PC based touch screen interactive demonstration visualising the potential of various energy technologies within the EU Strategic Energy Technology plan. 2. A PC based touch screen interactive demonstration showing energy use (data centres, stand by function, buildings etc) and potential energy savings, following the implementation of EU codes of conducts or guidelines. Energy is visualised relative to the electricity consumption in EU member states.

3. A PC based touch screen interactive demonstration visualising all aspects of the current electricity infrastructure, compared with the future smart grids. Various scenarios show the advantages of smart grids with respect to energy demand and emissions. 4. An interactive demonstration of the key issues which need to be considered when evaluating the environmental performance of biofuels. Of the obove examples We will now look in more detail at one of them – namely the Biofuel project. The communication objective is graphically shown in figure 5, namely to increase awareness of the complexity of the biofuel challenge. In fundamental terms many citizens see the issue as being a very simple choice between food and fuel. However the reality is far more complex with many production processes and associated parameters to be considered. A conventionl filling station petrol pump was used as the basis for the communication demonstration. A touch screen was integrated into the pump. Further details can be seen in figure 6. Via an interactive web based programme users can select one of ten biofuels derived from different sources. Upon selecting one type the user is guided through key issues which need to be considered when assessing the environmental performance of the selected biofuel. The tool was aimed at citizens with little knowledge of the many complex issues which surround biofuels. A “Mark II” version is now being designed to incorporate new scientific data . Due to the success of the original tool an i-pad version is also currently being finalised in-order to use another dissemination medium and thus further increase fundamental understanding in this area.

Figure 5: Graphic representation of Public Perception and reality

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The Communication puzzle In order to develop the communication tools it is necessary to consider many issues. It is similar to completing a jigsaw puzzle as all pieces of the puzzle are needed to complete the project. Table 1 and 2; show both the challenges and the elements of the communication strategy that were key in developing the tools.

Innovation and team work - the way forward The development of the interactive applications discussed above is very much a stepwise project, and although the communication objective is clearly identified at the project “kick-off”, the final form of the communication tool evolves throughout the project. In certain cases it was even necessary to “go back to the drawing board” and re-design certain elements that did not clearly get the message across or where messages could be misinterpreted. Although all the elements of the communication strategy play an important role in the communication puzzle, two elements are critical, namely the team approach in which scientists and communication experts work hand in hand, and innovation we have to ‘think out of the box’ in-order to

Figure 6: The Interactive Biofuel Communication tool

reach and communicate with our audiences.

Acknowledgments The use of data from the Pike Research report “Energy & Environment Consumer Survey” is gratefully acknowledged. The use of cartoon illustrations from “Wiebke” are gratefully acknowledged

Communication Challenges ► Perceptions ► Understanding / knowledge ► Awareness ► Urgency ► Choice of Communication Medium ► Culture Table 1

Elements of the communication strategy ► Research and understand your audience, including their environment ► Who does your audience trust ► Identify your audiences key sources of information ► Taylor the language to suit your audience ► Translate scientific and technical information , into every-day situations ► Provide the audience with the fundamental building blocks and knowledge ► Be innovative “think out of the box” ► Be visual, use images to increase understanding ► Provide un-biased facts, quantify uncertainties ► Team working including all relevant stakeholders Table 2

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A Global View on Energy & Environmental Trends Giuliano Grassi | EUBIA - European Biomass Industry Association

he following figures show the rapidly evolving global trends: • Population increase: from about 5.5 to 7 billion people • GDP increase: From 24 to 58 trillion $/y • Primary energy increase: from 8.3 to 12 billion TOE/y • Electricity consumption increase • CO2 emission increase: from 22 to 31 billion t/y As a consequence of such increasing trends, pressure on conventional energy resources is expected to increase further at a rate of 2-3% per year, in emerging Asian economies (China, India, S.E. Asia) and in Africa, where in subSaharan areas 90% of rural population still has no access to electricity. In these areas the total population (now above 1 billion people) at the end of this century could be as high as 3-4 billion people. Two billion people around the world are still living without electricity, an essential instrument for efficient production and activities of any kind. Conventional and commercial energy supply will be running out in a relatively short timeframe (based on present proven reserves) as follows: • 45 years for oil; • 60 years for natural gas; • 170 years for coal; • 50 years for U-235 (Uranium). Energy supply from H-fusion reactors seems unrealistic (also assuming the technical possibility of their implementation) for its extremely high electricity production costs: Cost estimation of electricity from fast breeder reactors is about 2 times more expensive of that produced in present thermal nuclear reactors; the cost of electricity from fusion reactors is 2 times more than the cost of fast breeder reactors. It can be expected that a very high price of energy and significant degradation of the environment due to global warming will occur if no diversification and acceleration programs towards renewable energy will be promoted, also if there is a large consensus on the fact that the role of conventional energy will still remain vital for a long time. As a necessity, bioenergy is going to play a vital role as a major contributor to world energy consumption, due to: • Its large global world potential (residues, energy


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crops, wastes), that can provide a considerable contribution for the mitigation of the energy supply risk and its availability nearly everywhere, although dispersed in the territory; • Its technical possibility to penetrate all different energy markets and the chemical markets. One day, the large product diversification (nearly 70,000) obtained from oil and natural gas could be derived from biomass resources; • Large impact on rural development, since the production of biomass requires quite a lot of manpower (a production of one job per 500 dry tons/year); hundreds of times in comparison to oil –natural gas production; • Most activity with short energy supply chains reducing transport losses; • Considerable benefits on the trade balance of energy import countries. Of course many challenges have to be faced, which impose several constraints such as: • Food-energy conflicts; • Sustainability of production; • Use of water for irrigation; • Soil fertility conservation; • Soil erosion; • Economic viability; • Emissions/wastes control. In the past decades several large-scale bioenergy activities have shown the high potentials of modern biomass, such as bioethanol production in Brazil and USA, biodiesel production most in EU. Biopower generation in the USA and Scandinavia, bio-heat production mostly in the Northern EU and charcoal production (for the steel industry) in Central-South America (~ 30 mio m3/y). Despite the remarkable achievements in all sectors or R.E. the global world conventional energy consumption increase has been faster than the contribution provided by R.E. (increased dependency of fossil energy and increased environmental impact). In particular, the use of coal is expected to increase considerably (38%) from now to year 2030, with 115 new coal power plants (500 MW) each year foreseen in China, India, USA. Furthermore there is a risk that the present financial difficulties could reduce,


also in the EU the support by political and economic decision makers for R.E. and bioenergy. Indeed the world is facing problems of great complexity never before encountered, not only of an environmental nature but involving population, technology, resources and economics. As far as energy requirements are concerned, all figures show future massive dimensions as previously indicated. While waiting for the commercialization of advanced bioenergy technologies and full systems (i.e. biorefineries) there is a group of activities with reasonable viability and good future market perspectives such as, among others: • Recovering of agro-forestry residues and processing them into “Agro-pellets”; • Refining and blending Agro-pellets by torrefaction in view of a homogenization of basic biomass feedstock and energy density increase to reduce the cost for long-distance logistics; • Co-firing agro-pellets (20% mix) and torrefied agropellets (up to 100%) in coal power-plants; • District heating; • Bioenergy plants and biorefineries based on the coprocessing of specific energy-crops by integrated industrial complexes; • Efficient cogeneration plants; • Biogas/biocompost/biofertilizers production from wastes & biomasses; • Bioethanol-biodiesel from specific efficient energy crops. However, at the time of RIO +20 the World head of States Summit on Sustainable Development, the consumption of natural resources is still increasing. The UNEP report established that only 4 objectives out of 90 considered as priority have undergone significant progress: • elimination of noxious compounds for the Ozone layer; • elimination of lead from gasoline; • access to clean water; • reduction of pollution in sea water. Other 4 objectives have achieved some progress, while 24 have so far achieved very poor or no progress at all and 8 objectives even obtained a further degradation (i.e. biodiversity). As far as GHG reduction is concerned, a temperature increase of +3°C in 50 years is expected if nothing is done. Renewable energy and bioenergy in particular will be able to provide a considerable contribution to the reduction of GHG emissions.

EUROPEAN BIOMASS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION EUBIA, European Biomass Industry Association, was established in 1996 as an International non-profit association in Brussels, Belgium. It groups together market forces, technology providers, knowledge centres and investors active in the field of biomass. EUBIA is a full member of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) established at the G8+5C summit in Gleneagles (2005), concentrating its activities upon three strategic pillars: energy security, food security and sustainable development. EUBIA is involved in various international cooperation agreements with the Russian Federation (Federal Agency of Science and Innovationassociated Promotion of Business), with P.R.China (China Association of Rural Energy and Industry), and with the USA (ACORE).

Objectives and Activities EUBIA's main objective is to promote the use of biomass by modern bioenergy technologies and increasing the competitiveness of the European biomass industry. In particular, EUBIA is a direct member of the biomass industry in the EU. The activities of EUBIA aim to: • Identify sustainable and commercially viable bioenergy projects • Support the industries that are active in the bioenergy sector and promote their projects; • Involve the bioenergy industry in EU-funded projects • Implement strategic studies in the bioenergy sector • Promote innovative technologies • Search of inventors and promotion of business • Promote international cooperation and exchange of technologies

Ongoing Innovative Projects • • • • • • •

Innovative pelletization technology for agro-forestry residues Advanced large-scale torrefaction technology Sweet sorghum biorefinery Small advanced power generators Development of logistics for large scale supply Development of biofertilizers production technology Small hybrid city-cars

EUBIA - European Biomass Industry Association Renewable Energy House ● Rue d’Arlon 63-65 ● 1040 Brussels ● Belgium Phone: +32 2 400 10 20 ● Fax: +32 2 400 10 21 ● E-mail:

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Company Schaller is an Austrian developer and producer of moisture meters for wood, biomass and forest industry. Quickly determine the water content of wood chips, barks, pellets, wood shavings, sawdust, elephant grass and corn cob. Ideal for traders and producers of biomass and operators of biomass heating plants.

humimeter - easy - fast - accurate! Schaller GmbH, Max-Schaller-StraĂ&#x;e 99, Aâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;8181 St.Ruprecht/Raab, phone +43(0)3178/28899-114,

Research for Renewables Renewable Energy Consortium for Research and Demonstration Consorzio per la Ricerca e la Dimostrazione sulle Energie Rinnovabili Registered office and experimental area: RE-CORD Consortium at Azienda Agricola Villa Montepaldi Srl University of Florence Via Mucciana 25 50026 San Casciano Val di Pesa (Florence) - Italy

Headquarters: CREAR, at Department of Energetics â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sergio Steccoâ&#x20AC;? Via Santa Marta 3 50139 Florence - Italy Spike Renewables Srl, Viale Manfredo Fanti 217 50137 Florence - Italy

Laboratory: Viale Kennedy 182 50038 Scarperia (Florence) - Italy

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Upcoming bioenergy events JUNE 18-22/06/2012

EU BC&E 2012 - 20th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition

Milan, Italy


3rd AEBIOM European Bioenergy Conference 2012

Brussels, Belgium

Biomass 2012: Confronting Challenges, Creating Opportunities

Washington D.C., USA


3rd Biomass Pellet Trade Asia

Seoul, South Korea


World Future Energy Summit

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


World Biofuels Markets Brazil

Sao Paulo, Brazil


Algae Biomass Summit

Denver, Colorado, USA


Interpellets 2012

Stuttgart, Germany


Third Latin American Congress on Biorefineries

Puc贸n, Araucan铆a, Chile


4th Nordic Wood Biorefinery Conference

Helsinki, Finland


Advanced Biofuels Markets

San Francisco, USA



Rimini, Italy


Future World of Biogas: Europe 2012 / Gasification 2012

London, United Kingdom


Bioenergy Business Forum Ukraine 2012

Kiev, Ukraine


National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo

Houston, Texas, USA


Bioenergy Commodity Trading 2012

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit 2012

Ottawa, Canada

JULY 10-11/07/2012




DECEMBER 3-5/12/2012

Be sustainable

The magazine of bioenergy and bioeconomy

BE Sustainable is also online Free online version available on Your feedback is precious to us! For general feedback, company news or to submit editorial ideas for upcoming issues please contact: For advertising requests contact:

BioEnerGIS GIS-based Decision Support System for sustainable energetic exploitation of biomass at regional level KNOWLEDGE - Assessment of Biomass Resources and Heat Demand BioEnerGIS mapped in Lombardy (IT), Northern Ireland (UK), Slovenia, Wallonia (BE): • the biomass potentially exploitable for energy purpose. In line with the EU legislation, BioEnerGIS has contributed to harmonize the methodologies and glossaries in biomass assessment; • the heat demand potentially fulfilled by biomass plants through district heating systems. PLANNING - BioPOLE (Biomass Plant Optimal Localisation Estimator) The GIS-based Decision Support System BIOPOLE helps to identify the optimal location for new biomass plants through: • the characterization of each 500m x 500m cell in terms of heat demand and available biomass; • the selection of the best technological options; • the verification of the sustainability criteria identified during the interaction with the stakeholders. BIOPOLE is accessible through the web INVOLVEMENT – Private and Public Partnership BioEnerGIS explored the public and private interest in realizing biomass plants , analysing through facilitation methods the different stakeholders’ needs. Starting with the creation of regional networks, specific actions were set up to support the involvement of private and public stakeholders. Signing a Local Agreement the stakeholders confirmed their availability to collaborate in order to conduct more detailed pre-feasibility studies around new biomass plants placed in their territory. They also committed themselves to create and develop local chains in order to better utilize the biomass locally available.

with the contribution of: A European Project supported through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development

Biomass potential Forest Sector (ton) 0 - 19 20 - 62 63 - 144 145 - 272 273 - 539

10 km

Lombardy D3 Set of biomass potential maps

The Recycling Specialist.


e Visit us at th

Biomass n a e p o r u E h 20t hibition x E d n a e c n Confere 15 Booth A14/A For more information, please visit our website

DOPPSTADT GmbH Barbyer Chaussee 3 39240 Calbe, Germany Tel: +49 (0)39291 55-0, Fax: -350


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The magazine of bioenergy and the bioeconomy

Profile for ETA-Florence Renewable Energies

BE-Sustainable Magazine Issue 1  

The Magazine of Bioenergy and the Bioeconomy

BE-Sustainable Magazine Issue 1  

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