Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

WP(9) Potentials of energy wood

The aim of this work package (8)is to estimate available quantities of energy wood in a medium time horizon (about 10 years), and discuss aspects which influence the potential in a long range perspective (about 50 years).

Woody biomass and energy crops already contribute substantially to cover energy demands in many parts of the world, including Europe. Biomass is used to substitute fossil fuels, e.g., in heat supply and electricity generation. Presently, the utilisation of these materials, mainly forest and logging residues, is low, compared with the estimated potentials. A reason for this is the existence of different technical and non-technical barriers.

- It was found that the total potential of different biomass fuels in Europe is about 9 EJ/a.
- The current use is about 2 EJ/a. This means that about 20% of the total resources are in use today.
- The practically available annual biomass fuel quantity in Europe is about 5 EJ/a.

Key innovative features of the result:
- Biomass, especially woody biomass could contribute significantly to mitigation of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, mainly CO2 from fossil fuel combustion.
- The rapidly growing markets for energy wood and other renewables in Europe during recent years have already raised questions about their influence on the environment.
- An important aspect is the assessment of these potentials in the appraisal of these resources, which is included in the setting of targets and limits for their practical utilisation.
- Extraction of more material from forest gives greater intensity and a higher risk of impact.
- All these impacts are manageable with fairly straightforward measures that are generally an extension of good conventional forestry practice.
- In most areas of the world, the current biomass use is clearly below the available potential. Only in Asia does current use exceed available potential, i. e. non-sustainable biomass use. Therefore, increased biomass use for energy purposes is possible in most countries.
- Therefore, a possible alternative is to cover the future demand for renewable energy by increased utilisation of forest residues and residues from the wood-processing industry.

Use potential:
- According to the Commission's White Paper, the overall aim is to double the share of renewable energy from 6 % to 12 % of the total energy consumption in the EU by year 2010.
- Regarding to this White Paper, a major part of additional renewable energy needed to set target could come from biomass.
- This means that, additionally, over 160 million m3 of woody biomass per year (1 EJ/a) could be used for energy in the EU.
- Biomass currently covers approximately 14% of the world's final energy consumption and 6,8% of the European Union’s (EU25) final energy consumption. The corresponding share of all renewables is about 10,3% in the EU(25).
- The share of wood in the EU (25) energy supply (wood as fuel in households and wood as fuel in industry and power plants) is about 50% of all renewables. This means that the share of wood in the EU(25) energy system is about 5,3%.

Current status:
- Estimation of total energy wood quantities is rather straight forward process and requires information of forests, forest yied and forest land etc. This information is in many cases available from national forestry statistics.
- Estimation of practically available energy wood quantity is more problementic. This factor is depended on information of ecological, technical and economical restictions due to procurement system chain.
- There is also lack of spatial forest information.
Conclusions: The total quantity is in most cases possible to estimate but the practically available quantity is still very difficult.

Expected benefits:
- The global benefit of displacing fossil fuel with modern wood fuel use is clear, with life cycle analyses showing that energy wood supply systems are near-neutral in terms of emissions of greenhouse gas CO2 to the atmosphere.
- The general conclusion of the main results is that there are a number of factors which have a positive influence of the potential energy wood supply in the future.
- Energy wood is going to be an important complementary product to the forest industry in the future.
- Wood as fuel is going to provide an important part of energy to make the sustainable society possible in the future.

- Results of this part of the work have been disseminated several ways: 1) By using Echaine web-page, 2) Partners presentations in two own international workshops (Bulgaria and Russia), 3) Partners presentations in national and international seminars, workshops and conferences, 4) Scientific publications.

Reported by

SLU, Dep. of Bioenergy
Vallvaegen 10
75007 Uppsala
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