Press releases

Ecofys puts sustainability requirements for biomass in practice

Published: 11/05/2010

Berlin, May 11, 2010 – Although regulation is not yet in place, market parties in the energy sector are searching for biomass that is genuinely sustainable. Recently, Ecofys concluded a sustainability assessment of routes for bio-energy sources on behalf of Vattenfall Europe.

Ecofys has recently assessed routes for bio-energy sources that are genuinely sustainable. By executing this assessment, Ecofys has supported a large European energy utility in applying sustainability knowledge to current practice.

The (co-) combustion of solid biomass in heat and power production can significantly reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a power plant park which is traditionally fired with fossil fuels. The large scale utilisation of biomass for this purpose however, needs to be assessed in order to guarantee net GHG savings and avoid adverse environmental and social impacts.

In a 2009 Directive, the European Commission designed sustainability criteria for biofuels and bioliquids. These criteria included a minimum for GHG emission reductions compared to fossil fuels and the stipulation that its production should not cause any additional deforestation.

Currently, these EU criteria only apply to biomass sources for transport fuels. The European Commission is still considering whether to apply similar criteria to solid biomass used for heat or power production. However, Vattenfall has voluntarily committed itself to identifying measures that guarantee the sustainability of its solid biomass sources. By doing so, Vattenfall is taking a leading role in the defining and sourcing of sustainable solid biomass on a large scale.

In recent years Ecofys has played a prominent consultant role in defining sustainability criteria regulations in the EU, the UK and the Netherlands among others. For Vattenfall, Ecofys has created an inventory of sustainable routes that have the potential to lead to the purchase of sustainable biomass. Vattenfall aims at increasing its biomass based share in combined heat and power production.

For Vattenfall, Ecofys specifically evaluated biomass streams from forestry residues and short rotation energy coppice (in the vicinity of Berlin) as well as global sources.

Ecofys expects that other companies using biomass for heat and power production will soon follow the Vattenfall example. “All stakeholders will ask for this,” says project manager Patrick Lamers. “The explicit use of certified sustainable biomass will also increase the public acceptance of biomass use for energy purposes in general.”

For further information, not for publication:
Yvonne Kettmann
Press Office
Ecofys
Am Wassermann 36
50829 Cologne
T: +49 (0)221 27070-110
E: press@ecofys.com

About Ecofys (www.ecofys.com)
Ecofys is a leading knowledge and innovation company that operates in the field of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change. We deliver research and service solutions from product development to implementation management. Our clients are energy companies, financial institutions and corporate businesses, governments and local authorities, international institutions, project developers, housing associations, building companies and energy consumers around the world.