Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Biomass is expected to make a major contribution of around 20% to the long-term production of energy from sustainable resources within the European Union (EU). This booklet shows how this target might be reached as well as describing the way in which the RTD Framework Programmes are supporting developments to facilitate this.

Biomass energy systems can be based on a wide range of feedstocks and use many different conversion technologies to produce solid liquid and gaseous fuels. These fuels can then be used to provide heat and electricity or to power vehicles using burners, boilers, generators, internal combustion engines, turbines or fuel cells. It is possible to upgrade biomass to obtain fuels that are identical to or have properties close to, those of fossil fuels This minimises the need to adapt end-use technology, but does have associated costs and energy losses An alternative is to reduce the moisture content, increase the heating value and modify the physical form in which biomass is used, while adapting end use equipment to the fuel produced. This also entails associated costs and energy use and a different technical approach.

As a result of the considerable effort already devoted to researching, developing and demonstrating biomass energy technologies. The EU already obtains a significant fraction of its energy (as heat and electricity) from the combustion of residues and wastes. However since reduction of waste and increased recycling of materials are also key objectives within EU policies, waste is a limited and declining resource. To meet the proposed targets will require greater use of agricultural and forest residues as well as the introduction of energy crops and adoption of cost-effective, environmentally friendly processes, attractive to investors and acceptable to planning authorities and the public in general.

Additional information

Authors: No Author(s) provided, DG-Research, Programme: Energy, Environment and Sustainable development
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19424 EN (2000) 17pp, EURO: FREE of charge
Availability: Available from DG-Research, Communication Unit, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200, B-1049 Brussels (BE) Fax: +32-2-2958220 E-mail:
ISBN: ISBN 92-829-0524-1
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