EU Science Hub

Brief on biomass for energy in the European Union

Abstract: 
This brief on biomass for energy is one out of a series of briefs from the EC's Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy which intend to provide independent evidence for EU policy in this field. The following are the key results: 1. Biomass for energy (bioenergy) continues to be the main source of renewable energy in the EU3, with a share of almost 60%. The heating and cooling sector is the largest end-user, using about 75% of all bioenergy. 2. Bioenergy contributes to the EU’s energy security, as most of the demand is met from domestically produced biomass (about 96% in 2016). 3. Forestry is the main source of biomass for energy (logging residues, wood-processing residues, fuelwood, etc.). Wood pellets, mainly for heating and electricity production, have become an important energy carrier. 4. Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and the UK are the largest bioenergy consumers in absolute terms, while the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, as well as Austria, consume the most bioenergy per capita. 5. Bioenergy can play a key role in achieving the EU's renewable energy targets for 2030 and beyond. However, biomass for energy must be produced, processed and used in a sustainable and efficient way in order to optimise greenhouse gas savings and maintain ecosystem services, all without causing deforestation or degradation of habitats or loss of biodiversity.