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Non-nuclear energy

R&D needed for biomass

Fission and radiation protection

Collection of Forest Residuals

How can we get more biomass modules in regular use?

  • Biomass already contributes 5% of the EU energy supply, and 65% of the total renewable energy production, where it is predominately used for heat and power applications.
  • In order to increase the share of biomass used as an energy source, more modules dedicated to heat, but mainly to combined heat and power (CHP) as well as to transport fuels production, need to reach the market.

Why do we need research?

What research is necessary for biomass?

  • Research aimed at reducing the cost of energy from biomass.
  • Research which enables systems with improved conversion efficiencies and better economics to reach the market place and which take on board the socio-economic dimension.

Why is EU support necessary?

  • To identify the main areas where R&D can lower costs and improve efficiencies throughout the chain at European level. By contributing to these developments, the EU encourages co-operation between Member States and thus helps to achieve critical mass in biomass development.
  • The EU bioenergy industry is considered a worldwide leader in several technical areas, such as combustion and gasification. Future research programmes will help industry, largely constituted by SMEs, to maintain this position and to advance in other areas, such as liquid biofuels.

Bottlenecks and barriers

What issues need to be addressed?

  • The development of cost effective integrated approaches from biomass collection to fuel production and uses, which take sustainable biomass procurement and market opportunities into account.
  • A crucial issue is that of sustainable biomass procurement.

What are the research targets in this area?

  • The medium to long-term target is to reduce the cost of producing energy from biomass. This is in the range of a 15-20 % cost reduction for electricity production and 30-50% cost reduction for biofuels for transport.
  • To solve the technical key challenges and to analyse the biomass potential and availability in particular markets, while taking the different regulatory and legislative issues into account.
  • To exploit the biomass potential and to show the appropriateness of new bioenergy sources by coupling them with energy production technologies.

What are the major technical barriers to be overcome?

  • Development of reliable and cost effective combustion technologies with innovative reduction of atmospheric pollutants. Large-scale (>15-20 MW) development will concentrate on combustion technologies capable of operating with multi-fuel resources (including co-firing). The development of small scale conversion (< 1MW) using standardised feed-stocks focus on self-running processes.
  • Development of reliable and cost effective gasification systems for electricity generation. Exploration of routes to produce H2-rich clean syngas.
  • Cost effective production of biofuels for transport from various feedstock and energy crop resources.

What are the major non-technical barriers to be overcome?

  • The development of regulatory activities and adoption of EU and MS policies to foster large volumes of biomass and biofuels.
  • Standards development to facilitate biomass trade and use.
  • Analysis and understanding of socio-economic and science-society issues related to the bioenergy systems use.