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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

EUBIONET III-Solutions to biomass trade and market barriers

Alakangas, E; Junginger, M; van Dam, J; Hinge, J; Keranen, J; Olsson, Olle; Porsö, Charlotta; Martikainen, A; Rathbauer, J.; Sulzbacher, L; Vesterinen, P; Vinterbäck, Johan


The EUBIONET III project has boosted (i) sustainable, transparent international biomass fuel trade, (ii) investments in best practice technologies and (iii) new services on biomass heat sector. Furthermore, it identified cost-efficient and value-adding use of biomass for energy and industry. The aims of this article are to provide a synthesis of the key results of this project. Estimated annual solid biomass potential in the EU-27 is almost 6600 PJ (157 Mtoe), of which 48% is currently utilised. The greatest potential for increased use lies in forest residues and herbaceous biomass. Trade barriers have been evaluated and some solutions suggested such as CN codes for wood pellets and price indexes for industrial wood pellets and wood chips. The analysis of wood pellet and wood chip prices revealed large difference amongst EU countries, but also that on the short term prices of woody and fossil fuels are barely correlated. Sustainable production and use of solid biomass are also deemed important by most European stakeholders, and many support the introduction of harmonised sustainability criteria, albeit under a number of preconditions. The study identified also that a number of woody and agro-industrial residue streams remain un- or underutilised. The estimated European total potential of agro-industrial sources is more than 250 PJ (7.2 Mtoe), the amount of unutilised woody biomass (the annual increment of growing stock) even amounts to 3150 PJ (75 Mtoe). Finally 35 case studies of biomass heating substituting fossil fuels were carried out, showing that the potential to reduce GHG emissions ranges between 90 and 98%, while costs are very similar to fossil fuel heating systems. Overall, we conclude that solid biomass is growing strongly, and is likely to heavily contribute to the EU renewable energy targets in the coming decade. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Trade; Sustainability criteria; Agroindustrial residues; Quality standards; Heat; Industry

Published in

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
2012, Volume: 16, number: 6, pages: 4277-4290

      SLU Authors

      • Sustainable Development Goals

        SDG7 Affordable and clean energy
        SDG15 Life on land
        SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

        UKÄ Subject classification

        Other Civil Engineering

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