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Supporting Sustainable Energy Production from Biomass from Landscape Conservation and Maintenance Work

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - greenGain (Supporting Sustainable Energy Production from Biomass from Landscape Conservation and Maintenance Work)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

The EU-project greenGain is looking for solutions to strengthen the energy production of woody and herbaceous biomass feedstock from landscape conservation and maintenance work (LCMW) carried out in the public interest. The scope of biomass used is generated during the maintenance of roadsides, watercourses, power lines, areas like parks and cemeteries and the conservation work of recreation areas like nature reserves, but also from private gardens. The main target groups are regional and local players, who are responsible for maintenance and conservation work and for the biomass residue management in their regions. Moreover, the focus will be on service providers - including farmers, forest owners, NGOs, energy providers and consumers.
When working with LCMW material it has to be considered that the supply is spatially scattered and has seasonal fluctuations. Also the quality of the feedstock is often poor and pre-treatments as sieving or drying are necessary. In many cases the actors involved in the LCMW encounter financial and technical constraints, unclear responsibilities and legal requirements of waste management and a general lack of information on the biomass.
Still, this feedstock is an attractive potential energy source. With the energetic utilisation of this biomass a by-product of regular management of public areas contributes to local energy cycles and renewable energy production. Also the selling of the feedstock or the thereof produced energy, present a possibility for financial compensation of maintenance costs.
The project provide knowledge on local availability of this feedstock and know-how on issues ranging from logistics to storage and sustainable conversion pathways for the transformation of this feedstock to renewable energy. GreenGain aims to raise awareness of this still widely underused, inefficiently used or even unused biomass resource and to increase the public acceptance of its collection and usage for the production of heat and electricity.
The three year project which started in January 2015 was supported by the Horizon 2020 European program to foster research and innovative solutions in the EU. Eight partners from Germany, Italy, Spain and Czech Republic co-operate with regional stakeholders from seven model regions to reach the following goals:
• trigger the exploitation and coordinate as well as support the market uptake of currently underused biomass sources from LCMW for energy purposes
• mobilize biomass not competing with food and feed production
• assess and develop planning, harvesting, transport, pre-treatment, measuring, energy conversion and financial frameworks
• support local governance processes, develop tools for an active & supportive citizenship and realise a good practices know-how platform
The action will help private and public actors and stakeholders to develop energy projects supporting the commitments of the EU2020 – 2030. The results will be published in reports and good practice databases on categorized supply chains with measurable data like time, energy and financial consumption. Since the resources in question derive from operations done in public interest or even by public order, the project has also the objective to describe the legal and overall societal framework and the predominant goals of each specific landscape or infrastructural element, from which the biomass is obtained.
To fulfil the objectives in greenGain, the project partners follow a number of approaches. In the first phase information on the already existing knowledge, experiences and good practices from the regional up to the EU level was gathered. To mobilize local biomass, the existing amounts and utilization pathways of the LCMW materials were assessed in co-operation with the model region stakeholders. To describe further limitations and barriers, economic, environmental, social and legal aspects were considered as well. The status quo and biomass assessment of the promising LMCW types in the project regiong were investigated. Interviews to gather further qualitative expert information, to validate assumptions and recommendations on basis of the previous literature research and to access information in non-English speaking countries have been performed.
On the regional level the establishment of new value chains by executing pilot experienceswere implemented. Finally, to reach a wide audience with an extensive data- and knowledge base on LCMW biomass, greenGain manages and provides an EU-wide know-how platform.
The following list shows the main results :
• Implementation of pilot experiences
• Periodical discussion rounds with external experts in three Stakeholder Working Groups
• Two conferences to gather experts and stakeholders in the field, to inform about project results, get feedback and to strengthen the network of stakeholders in the EU 28
• Regular project meetings to organize the exchange between the Consortium and the EC
• Regular national workshops to foster the transfer and the exchange of results and good practices
All results, reports, databases and newsletters are available are availabe on the project homepage.
greenGain provided new knowledge and information for the use of biomass from LCMW and the above mentioned objectives were all achieved. The project investigated the feedstock and its value chain successfully and as expected this type of biomass can be mobilised and replace fossil fuels. Most of the expected energetic, environmental, economic and political impacts occurred. E.g. biomass from LCMW will lead to reduction in EU external energy dependence due to the substitution of crude oil and in most cases selling of this feedstock, or the thereof produced energy, is a possibility for financial compensation for maintenance costs. greenGain supports pathways with an CO2 avoidance potential due to use of LCMW for energy purposes. Additionally, by promoting direct energy conversion, LCMW could cause a reduction of CO2. The results of the project enforced regional, national and EU policy by a systematic analysis of the legal, policy, financial and governance frameworks in EU 28 regarding energetic use of feedstock from LCMW and provided recommendation to the EC for possible improvements. Hence, greenGain contributed to solve the main bottlenecks in national and EU strategies. In summary it can be stated that the state of the art has been described in a comprehensive manner. Stakeholder involvement and dissemination activities were fundamental elements of greenGain. Through communication with the wider public as well as the industrial, scientific and policy communities the value of the greenGain project is be guaranteed also beyond its duration.
Relationship between typical capacity of conversion technologies and feedstock demand (by SYNCOM)
LCMW biomass from ravine cleaning in Spain
Location and main features of the greenGain model regions
Storage of LCMW biomass from olive plantation in Italy