EurObsev'ER issues biomass, biogas and municipal waste barometers

By Erin Voegele | December 04, 2012

EurObserv’ER Barometer released three reports in early December outlining growth in the EU’s solid biomass, biogas and renewable municipal waste sectors. According to the reports, the EU’s use of solid biomass dropped by 2.9 percent between 2010 and 2011, while power production from biogas increased by 18.2 percent in 2011. Energy produced from municipal waste also increased by 2.6 percent.  

Regarding solid biomass, which includes wood, waste wood, pellets, and other plant and animal-based biomass, the Solid Biomass Barometer report notes that the winter of 2011 was exceptionally mild, resulting in low demand for firewood and solid biomass fuel. However, power production from solid biomass continued to grow, driven primarily by cofiring. According to the report, power production from biomass grew by 16.9 percent between 2010 and 2011. In 2011, the EU produced 72.8 terawatt hours (TWh) of power from solid biomass. An additional 64.9 million tons of oil equivalent (MTOE) in heat from solid biomass was consumed.

Germany has the most solid biomass production capacity online within the EU. In 2011, the country produced 6.814 TWh of power at dedicated power plants, and an additional 4.725 TWh at combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plants. The total biomass power production in the country was 11.539 TWh, an increase over the 10.73 TWh reported in 2010. Finland and Sweden round out the top three biomass power producers in the EU.

The Biogas Barometer notes that biogas energy recovery for power and heat applications has increased in the EU. According to the report, the EU produced 35.9 TWh of electricity from biogas in 2011. Germany is also the leader in the EU biogas market. In 2011, the country commissioned 1,310 new anaerobic digestion systems, bringing its total to 7,215 biogas plants representing a total power production capacity of 2,904 MW. The United Kingdom and Italy are the two next largest biogas power producers in the EU.

Finally, Renewable Municipal Waste Barometer states that the incineration of household waste accounted for more than 8.2 MTOE in 2011, a 2.6 percent increase over 2010. EU countries produced 18.2 TWh of power from municipal waste in 2011. German, France and the Netherlands are the top producers of power from municipal waste in the EU. According to the report, power generation from municipal waste in the Netherlands grew by 9.4 percent between 2010 and 2011.