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Integrated European Network for Biomass Co-firing

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The energy promise of biomass co-firing

A mix of bio-fuel and regular fuel represents a cost-effective way to generate more eco-friendly energy. Using existing infrastructure to achieve its aims, the approach holds much promise for developing sustainable energy.

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The EU-funded initiative 'Integrated European network for biomass co-firing' (Netbiocof) aimed to promote European cooperation among research organisations devoted to biomass co-firing. Team members looked at ways to encourage the use of biomass co-firing in new and existing power plants, particularly in new EU Member States. Co-firing involves combining less polluting or carbon-neutral fuel, such as biomass, with traditional fuel, such as carbon, to generate electricity in power plants. By combining biomass with coal in the co-firing process, several advantages can be realised in terms of efficiency. In addition, outcomes are in line with the Kyoto Protocol, which stipulates a reduction of 8 % of greenhouse emissions by 2012. The project established an expert-led coordination platform to assess ongoing research and identify best practices, including barriers that have been blocking uptake of the technology. It also proposed strategies for implementation and future research. Netbiocof successfully coordinated research across Europe and minimised overlapping research. It encouraged networking among stakeholders such as research centres and businesses, outlining valuable recommendations for implementing biomass co-firing in Europe. The consideration of socioeconomic, technological, climatic, legal and political requirements was also involved in the process. Another major accomplishment has been to encourage future research and development (R&D) on a pan-European level by promoting the establishment of research clusters on the topic. This was followed in parallel with ongoing dissemination activities and promotion of biomass co-firing as a green alternative. With the Kyoto protocol in mind, green solutions such as co-firing are bound to be part of the European reality, and this project has helped bring it much closer to policymakers.

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