Biomass report finds significant reductions in GHG emissions

By Erin Voegele | February 25, 2016

A report recently released to the European Union Directorate-General for Energy, titled “Carbon impacts of biomass consumed in the EU: quantitative assessment,” confirms using bioenergy has significant carbon savings and can reduce greenhouse (GHG) emissions. 

The report includes an assessment of direct and indirect GHG emissions associated with different types of biobased fuels used for electricity production and heating and cooling in the European Union under a variety of scenarios looking out as far as 2015. The goal of the report is to provide information on which to base further development of policy on the role of biomass.

All six bioenergy scenarios addressed in the report achieved significant reductions in total annual GHG emissions, including those that involved increased bioenergy consumption in the EU. The analysis also determined deprioritizing bioenergy could lead to significantly higher overall energy system costs with significant logistical challenges.

EU Directorate-General for Energy report on biomass consumption finds significant reductions in total GHG emissions through use of biomass

Seth Ginther, executive director of the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, applauded the release of the study and stated, “Independent academics and scientists have reached the same conclusions here in the US.  When sourced sustainably, biomass is a carbon beneficial technology.” 

Ginther was referencing a recently released peer-reviewed research paper coauthored by Madhu Khanna (who is also the chair of the U.S. EPA Scientific Advisory Board on Biogenic Carbon), in which Khanna and her colleagues found “across different scenarios of high and low pellet demand that can be met with either forest biomass only or with forest and agricultural biomass, we find that the GHG intensity of pellet-based electricity is 74 to 85 percent lower than that of coal-based electricity.”

A full copy of “Carbon impacts of biomass consumed in the EU: quantitative assessment” can be downloaded from the EC website.