European biomass demand to grow 44pc by 2020

12 Jul 2011

Renewable energy policy in Europe will generate an increase in lignocellulosic biomass demand of 44pc between 2010 and 2020.

The increased use of biomass will be driven principally from the energy sector, but also from the industrial and residential sectors. These are the findings in European Biomass Review, a new study from RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry.

What is the potential to increase regional supply for biomass from forest and other sources and what actions are being taken to release the potential? The key to the future development of European biomass markets resides in the region’s supply potential and how well it can mobilise new sources of supply, such as forest residues, agricultural residues and energy crops.

While technologies such as wind, solar and geothermal are developing rapidly, lignocellulosic biomass is currently the largest renewable energy source (RES) and remains attractive due to its relative abundance and reliable supply.

The economics of biomass versus other RES is analysed in the study using macro demand drivers and the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs), to forecast biomass demand by sector until 2020.

“The NREAPs offer insights into how governments plan to meet the renewable energy targets by 2020,” says study author Glen O’Kelly, “but forecast biomass demand is based on announced investments, carbon costs and the relative economics of biomass, as well as an analysis of macro drivers: forecast GDP, population, household energy use, forest industry production – all considered in this study.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years