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BEE Biomass Energy Europe

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Edward Smeets
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The overall objective of the Biomass Energy Europe (BEE) project is to improve the accuracy and comparability of future biomass resource assessments for energy by reducing heterogeneity, increasing harmonisation and exchanging knowledge. First, similarities and differences between the various approaches, methodologies and datasets used in biomass resource assessments are investigated. Particularly the different approaches and methodologies that are used to integrate sustainability criteria into biomass resource assessments are subject of research. Second, a review is carried out of the results of existing biomass resource assessments. The focus is thereby especially on studies that focus on the world and on the EU. Third, a harmonized approach and harmonisation measures for biomass resource assessments are developed. Fourth, the harmonised approach and harmonisation measures are than applied to several case studies. At this moment, phase one and two are nearly completed and in this paper some preliminary results are presented. Phase one and two show that the results of existing biomass resource assessments vary widely. The variation in results is mainly caused by the approaches and methodologies that are applied. Especially the assumptions that are used to determine the future availability of land for energy crop production are crucial. A key parameter is the efficiency of agricultural production systems, which determines the availability of land that is not needed for the production of food. A crucial gap in data and knowledge is related to the availability and productivity of degraded land, which is not investigated in any of the key studies that are included. Further, we concluded that sustainability aspects are inadequately taken into account. Generally, environmental factors are overrepresented whereas social and economic aspects are taken into account far less frequently. Regarding the environmental dimension, biodiversity and climate aspects are included more often than soil and water aspects. Regarding the social dimension, many studies account for the competition of biomass and land with food which always is given priority. Although many studies assess economic aspects, only few calculate the impact of bioenergy production on crop and food prices by integrating bioenergy production in the existing markets. We conclude that none of the approaches and methodologies is ideal, because each approach and methodology has both advantages and disadvantages.
Martijn Vis
added 2 research items
This handbook has the purpose to promote harmonisation in the development of biomass resource assessments. It provides best practice methods for determination of biomass resource potentials, and gives guidance for transparent presentation of results by providing terms and definitions needed for the execution and presentation of biomass resource assessments. Methods are provided for four categories of biomass types: (1) forest biomass, (2) energy crops, (3) agricultural residues and (4) organic waste. Furthermore, five types of methods are identified: statistical methods, spatially explicit methods, cost-supply methods, energy-economics and energy system model methods, and integrated assessments. For each of the before-mentioned biomass types, the handbook shows how these methods can be applied. Furthermore, the handbook provides a detailed overview of sustainability aspects that can be implemented in future biomass assessments.
Biomass resource assessments indicate the availability of biomass for energy production. This handbook provides best practices for determination of biomass resource potentials and gives guidance for transparent presentation of results. Methods are provided for forest biomass, energy crops, agricultural residues and organic waste. For each biomass type, a distinction is made between statistical methods, spatially explicit methods, cost-supply methods and more advanced modelling methods. Furthermore, the handbook provides a detailed overview of sustainability aspects that can be implemented in future biomass resource assessments. The Biomass Resource Assessment Handbook is a product of the European 'Biomass Energy Europe' project, in which 16 renowned universities, institutes and companies worked on harmonisation of biomass resource assessments. The project has been supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme.