Thursday, July 4, 2013

EU wants efficient and environmentally friendly biomass production

EU wants biomass production to become more environmentally friendly and more efficient if biomass wants to play more important role in EU renewable energy mix.

The latest study by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has concluded that biomass production needs to become not only more efficient but it also needs to avoid negative environmental effects as much as possible.

The current biomass production methods offer great room for improvement in efficiency because generating electricity by burning pure biomass is only 30% to 35% efficient. For comparison purposes, burning the same material for heating purposes is 85-90% efficient.

EU believes that both European forests as well as productive land are limited resources that deserve more rational approach, especially in terms of efficiency. What this means is that existing biomass resources need to be used efficiently before imposing additional demands on land for increased energy production.

Also, the current energy crop mix is not good for environment and there is said to be a need for broader mix of crops to reduce negative environmental impacts and offer sustainable production.

According to this latest study "high-yielding systems with efficient conversion can deliver more than 20 times more energy compared with low-yielding inefficient systems using the same land area."

One of the proposals  by EEA is to focus on growing perennial crops because they are not harvested annually and can thus enhance ecosystems as well as provide various useful services such as flood prevention and water filtration.