Biomass and The Green Economy

The European Commission has set a long-term goal to develop a competitive, resource efficient and low-carbon economy by 2050, and bioenergy is expected to play an important role in this vision of the future. Europe already has a number of well-established traditional bio-based industries, ranging from agriculture, food, feed, fiber and forest-based industries; and since modern economic growth considers energy as a determinant factor of production, and given that the interdependence between energy, the environment and economic growth is not straight forward, this complex relationship cannot be addressed using a traditional linear approach.

Three priorities have thus been distinguished in the transition to an ecologically sustainable bio-based economy:

  • Develop new technologies, procedures and infrastructure to collect or to produce more biomass without using directly or indirectly valuable land.
  • Develop technologies to produce hydrocarbons from types of biomass that have potentially the highest sustainable supply and stimulate the application of these hydrocarbons in sectors of the economy where no or very few fossil-free alternatives exist.
  • Develop a system of criteria, certification scheme and enforcement for all types of biomass that aims to reduce the impact of direct and indirect land use on greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity, and to extend the current EU system that is restricted to the direct impacts of transport biofuels.

The most compelling principle of biomass is that it is renewable. The remarkable consistency and burn efficiency of pellet fuel produces a fraction of the particulate emissions of raw biomass. Pellet burners feature the lowest particulate matter emissions of all solid fuels burners. Given the proper Sustainable Forest Initiatives and agricultural management, biomass is virtually limitless, and has proven to be price stable in comparison with fossil fuels.


Journal of Sustainable Development

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Pellet Fuels Institute