ARBOR: Securing North-West Europe's biomass energy supply

Regions and municipalities across North-West Europe are trying to find ways to meet the ever-increasing energy demands on our resources by producing biomass. However, greater coordination and commercial know-how are required. With partners in Benelux, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the ARBOR project is addressing the urgent supply and demand issues around this biological material. The ultimate goal is to make the EU a world-class centre for biomass production.

Additional tools

The ARBOR project is trying to meet the ever-increasing energy demands on our resources by producing biomass. The ARBOR project is trying to meet the ever-increasing energy demands on our resources by producing biomass.

European transnational cooperation is crucial as it could kick-start European, national, and local strategies for the sustainable production of biomass. ARBOR’s innovative transnational approach provides smart solutions to help address individual country supply and demand issues around biomass. Innovative pilot projects have informed implementation of biomass energy transformation solutions and the project significantly helps to reach the achievement of targets set in the National Renewable Energy Action Plans for renewable energy by 2020.

ARBOR brings together key stakeholders involved in the various stages of the biomass supply-chain. These include academics who teach and research in biomass, local authorities actively piloting novel experimentation with biomass, and manufactures who assist in exploring new methods and processes.

Transnational pilot projects

The consortium has realised the importance of transnational cooperation and has established a number of pilot projects aimed at sourcing and exploiting biomass materials across North-West Europe.

One such project is taking place in Stoke-on-Trent in the UK, where waste-wood is being sourced from the management of parks and green areas. Another can be found in Saarland, Germany and involves the production of biomass from organic waste and sewage sludge. Meanwhile, in the Campine region of Belgium, the project team is exploring biomass production from soils that are unfit for agricultural use or during periods that are unsuitable for food crop production.

eyond pilot projects, various conversion technologies are also being used for demonstration purposes and include a biomass gasifier to produce combustible gases from wood. These demonstrations serve the purpose of presenting solutions to businesses and indeed municipalities looking to produce heat and power from waste. In fact, ARBOR has seen the Centre of Excellence for Biomass to Energy (CEBE) at Staffordshire University become a transnational focal point, uniting stakeholders wishing to learn at first-hand how to manage a biomass system.

The ARBOR partnership is keen to establish itself as the most important network of biomass experts across North-West Europe. The team hopes this network will eventually be in a position to advise all potential investors across the region on how to create biomass supply chains. It will also continue to look at ways of exploiting sources of biomass previously considered unsuitable due to economic, political, or environmental reasons.

Cradle-to-grave approach

However, unlike previous projects on biomass that focused only on one element of biomass, ARBOR takes a ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach, covering all aspects of the supply chain. This will result in an effective methodology for greater biomass utilisation across the region that is essential for a healthy bio-economy and green growth.

In the longer term, the consortium has devised an action plan to sustain the project’s results well into the future. Staffordshire University's Centre of Excellence will play a key role in making this plan come to fruition.

everal links between ARBOR and other European projects have been identified and a number of partners have already gone on to submit bids for funding support that will further capitalise on ARBOR's impressive results.

‘The ARBOR project is unique in that it is looking at the whole biomass energy supply chain - from manufacturing to energy production. It also intends to stimulate job creation in the biomass industry across Europe and correct regional disparities in its production.’

  • Dr Sacha Oberweis, Project Manager ARBOR

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “ARBOR” is EUR 7 361 958 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 3 717 426 through the “INTERREG IV-B North West Europe” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date