Knowledge for better food systems

Biomass: Carbon Sink or Carbon Sinner?

In April 2009 the Environment Agency published this report, research for which was carried out for the Environment Agency by AEA Technology. Key points as follows: 1. GHG emissions from energy generated using biomass are generally, but not always, less than from fossil fuels. 2. Land use change can negate any emission savings. 3. Energy conversion efficiency is an important factor in reducing emissions 4. Emission reductions of several million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year could be achieved by following good practice
In April 2009 the Environment Agency published this report, research for which was carried out for the Environment Agency by AEA Technology. Key points as follows: 1. GHG emissions from energy generated using biomass are generally, but not always, less than from fossil fuels. 2. Land use change can negate any emission savings. 3. Energy conversion efficiency is an important factor in reducing emissions 4. Emission reductions of several million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year could be achieved by following good practice 5. By 2030, biomass electricity will need to be produced using good practice to avoid emitting more GHG emissions per unit than the average for the electricity grid indicated to be necessary by the Committee on Climate Change 6. Co-firing biomass is a good short term measure to reduce emissions, but unless carbon capture and storage can be deployed and preferably the heat utilised, it does not have a long term role Recommendations:
  • The Renewables Obligation, the Renewable Heat Incentive and other relevant policies should provide greater incentives for CHP and heat only plants than for electricity only as currently.
  • Mandatory reporting on greenhouse gas emissions by generators receiving public support through the Renewables Obligation and the Renewable Heat Incentive.
  • Development of mandatory minimum standards for the greenhouse gas savings achieved by biomass fuels used to generate heat and power.
  • A review of energy conversion efficiency in biomass heat and power generation to ensure current standards are adequate in ambition and scope.
  • Further research to understand which technologies and production methods will produce the most renewable energy and least GHG emissions from a given amount of biomass.
In order to help biomass facility operators report on the lifecycle GHG emissions from fuel production and use, the Environment Agency has developed a Biomass Environmental Assessment Tool - BEAT2. The tool is free to download from the Biomass Energy Centre website here.
 

Add comment

Member input

Plain text

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.