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Pursalia CHP plant in Finland
Overview of current programme activities
The European Commission has funded the development of biomass technology on a trans-national basis funded scheme, for more than two decades.
Current EU funded research into biomass focuses on producing heat and electricity. In the longer term it will focus on cleaner fuels for transport.

Topics under investigation

The main areas of biomass research funded are the following:

  • Use of biomass and wastes in dedicated facilities or through co-utilisation with fossil fuels.
  • Measurable technical and economic advances including reduced emissions, improved cost effectiveness and other environmental benefits, including waste disposal.
  • Longer-term targets for advances in technology, including gasification, pyrolysis, biomass operated gas turbines and systems which can use different biofuels.
  • In the transport fuel sector, the development of cost-effective methods for clean biofuels for internal combustion engines and fuel cells. The production of biofuels from conventional raw materials and processes is not considered a relevant research subject. Development in the transport sector also optimising the use of internal combustion engines using biofuels, by increasing their efficiency and reducing their emission of pollutants.
  • Socio-economic and pre-normative research on the use of bioenergy.

Specific measures have been undertaken which help to build the European Research Area (ERA) for bioenergy.

Technology sub-areas researched

What goes on in each of the technology sub-areas?


  • Research activities focus on controlling and monitoring the biomass combustion- dedicated system, the study of aerosol behaviour, flue gas treatment and the combustion behaviour biomass which is difficult to burn.
  • In the short and medium term the co-combustion of biomass and biowaste in coal fired electricity plants is one of the most straightforward Biomass applications.
  • Studies are being carried out on controlling combustion behaviour as well as on emission, corrosion, agglomeration and fouling-related problems.


  • Much effort have been devoted to cleaning (NH3, tars) the gas produced by biomass gasifiers in order to obtain gas of sufficient quality for more demanding final use.
  • In the long term the production of H2-rich syngas is considered to be a key technology for efficient power, fuel and feedstock production. Interesting innovative routes are being explored in this technology sub-area.

Pyrolysis - Anaerobic Digestion

  • The work into pyrolysis focuses on improving systems to get better quality bio-oils.
  • The research in anaerobic digestion centres on monitoring and controlling the digestion processes and on cleaning the gas which is produced.

Transport fuels

  • The cost effective production of bioethanol from lignocellulose is being developed.

Socio-economic and pre-normative research
Whenever possible, this research is integrated into other research activities, such as those described above.

  • Some of the dedicated research activities are linked to standardisation (solid biofuels, tar-measurements) as well as to socio-economic research (integrated chain of some biomass resources, CHP etc).

The aim of the actions undertaken is:

  • To develop strategies to promote coordination between EU and the Member States in the area of bioenergy research policies and programmes.
  • To identify opportunities for short-term actions leading to the ERA for bioenergy research.