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Illustration of Methodologies for Biomass Resource Assessments

The BEE Methods Handbook (see WP5) summarises approaches and methods and harmonises assumptions on biomass resource assessments based on existing studies. It does not propose just a single method to fit all purposes but rather describes and documents various alternative approaches and methods in a comparative way.

As part of the project some of the methodological recommendations for biomass resource potential for energy are illustrated and validated in their applicability by implementing the proposed methods to specific cases.

A total of five illustration cases were carried out at different geographical scales: (i) pan European, (ii) Croatia, (iii) Finland, (iv) Ukraine and (v) FYR Macedonia. Each illustration case assesses the potential for a set of biomass types in combinations with specific methods. The main illustration case however is implemented at the European level and provides estimates for individual EU27 and a few additional countries. All types of biomass for bioenergy are analysed at this level and following the BEE Methods Handbook; basic and advanced statistical, basic and advanced spatially explicit adn integrated assessment methods were used, involving a great variety of different data sources. This makes comparisons across methods, potentials and biomass types possible.





















For the averages from forestry biomass sources factors for the conversion of tonnes DM wood to PJ were harmonised to a value of 15.48.




Figure 2. Summary of the EU illustration case results. Sums over all EO27 countries for the different biomass types and sources separated by potential types. Values in PJ per year.

Figure 2 summarises the results of the European illustration case at the level of biomass types and sources and the type of potential. The data were averaged over different assessment methods if estimated by more than one.

Table C. Percentage share of the theoretical potential. Potentials were summed over EU27 countries and averaged over the different methods applied.

Biomass type Biomass sources Technical Economic
Forestry Fellings 25% 21%
Primary forestry residues 36% 7%
Energy crops Woody energy crops - 2%
Waste 64% -

It is striking that for different biomass types the differences between potential levels vary. When summing over all countries and averaging over all methods, some basic relationships can be observed. Table C displays the percentage share of the theoretical potential for the technical and economic potential for different biomass types and sources. The numbers have to be interpreted with care as the estimates for the same level of potential differ significantly between methods. For energy crops, in general, a reduction of one order of magnitude can be expected when going from the theoretical to the technical potential. For forestry the reduction is less severe. Potentials are reduced to about one third or fourth on average going from theoretical to technical potential and halved again for the economic potential. However, for fellings large variability due to alternative definition of potential types were observed. Here the technical potential can be very close to the economic.

The illustration case results were validated by parties outside of the BEE consortium (e.g. ministries and research institutes on national and EU level); parties which were selected based on their expertise in evaluating biomass potentials.

Nearly without exception the feedback on the BEE Methods Handbook and the illustration cases was positive. The reviewers of the European illustration case positively recognized that the cross-sectorial handling of the potentials (i.e. forestry, agriculture and energy crops) enables a comparison between potentials. Moreover it was acknowledged that the demonstration of the applicability of the methods in the European illustration case can be regarded as a step forward towards more harmonized assessments. The general opinion amongst the nine reviewers was that the handbook can be seen as a reference for future work on assessments of biomass potentials.

Related project reports

Summary Report on Illustration Cases (D6.1)

Illustration Case for Europe (D6.1 Annex I)

Illustration Case for Croatia (D6.1 Annex II)

Illustration Case for Finland (D6.1 Annex III)

Illustration Case for Ukraine (D6.1 Annex IV)

Illustration Case for FYR Macedonia (D6.1 Annex V)

Validation of Illustration Cases (D6.3)