Chapter 11
Classification of Solid Biofuels as a Tool for
Market Development
Daniela Thra
n, Marlies Ha
rdtlein and Martin Kaltschmitt
There is a signifi cant potential for an increased use of biomass all over the European
Union. Solid biofuels can contribute significantly to reach the political goals of the
European Commission and national governments to increase the share of renewable
energy and reduce CO
emissions from anthropogenic sources. For various reasons,
however, this is not happening easily. In many cases, the costs of energy provision
are higher for biofuels than for fossil fuels so that additional development programs
are urgently needed if this potential is to be rationally explored.
Table 11.1 shows the current use of biomass resources for electricity and heat
generation in the EU and the estimated potential from different sources in each
country. Large differences can be observed both in the amount and the type of
resources being exploited in each country. It can be noted, for instance, that while
some countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria have already
exploited 40 to 50 per cent of their potential, Germany is only using 10 per cent of its
total potential.
Differences can also be observed in the conversion forms throu gh which biomass
resources are being exploited. The use of biomass for district heating has reached
quite significant levels in a few countries such as Austria, Finland and Sweden, where
mainly fuelwood and wood residues from forestry and wood-processing industries
are being utilized. In Germany, woody residues have been used at a more or less
steady level in the last ten years for domestic heating purposes, while other biomass
resources have not yet been much explored. There is, for example, a significant
amount of herbaceous residues, mainly straw, which can be used with technologies
that are readily available.
To develop a more widespread use of the solid biofuel resources, the costs of
production, provision and use of biomass fuels have to be reduced significantly so
that they can compete with fossil fuels economically. With this in mind, it is
necessary to consider the possibilities of cost reduction all along the supply chain of
Bioenergy Realizing the Potential
ß 2005 Dr Semida Silveira
Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
solid biofuels. This includes the agricultural production of biofuels, their preparation
and provision, their use in the generation of energy and in the recycling of ashes.
Additionally, noneconomical and nontechnical barriers that slow down a widespread
use of solid biofuels need to be addressed.
Compared to other renewable energy sources, solid biofuels are characterized by a
wide range of fuel types. They differ in origin, physical and mechanical properties
(e.g. moisture content, particle size and particle size distribution) and chemical
composition (e.g. content of sulfur, nitrogen and chlorine). In fact, lack of clearly
defined biofuel properties as well as clear supply conditions are seen as major
nontechnical barriers for biofuels (Kaltschmitt et al., 2001).
Thus standardization of biofuel properties and their measurement is one of the
tools that needs to be developed to improve biofuel markets. Standardization is
expected to improve markets in the following ways:
Producers of solid biofuels get more concrete instructions for the production of
solid biofuel s. They are then able to optimize their production processes with
regard to the properties demanded of the fuels and can reduce costs through a
more efficient production.
Having a solid specification available, one that is well adapted to practical
needs, the development of a solid biofuel market is more promising. The
Table 11.1. Use and potential of biomass in the EU
Currents use Potential
Electricity Heat Total
crops Total
(in PJ/yr) (in PJ/yr)
Austria 15.6 111.4 127 164.5 22.4 62.7 249.7
Belgium & Lux. 6.7 10.5 17.3 54.4 12.9 37.5 104.8
Denmark 31.1 23.7 54.8 29.2 45.7 60.2 135
Finland 51 154.1 205.1 494 18.5 34.3 546.9
France 38.4 371.2 409.5 634 308.5 708.6 1651
Germany 71.6 111.5 183.2 356.7 197.1 352.9 906.6
Greece 0 58.5 58.5 71.9 27.3 105.4 204.6
Ireland 0 6.8 6.8 17.5 9.3 122.1 149
Italy 13.4 135.1 148.5 183.5 109.5 293.8 586.8
Netherlands 23.3 15.8 39.1 15.6 8.4 58 82
Portugal 5.8 93.3 99.1 131.4 7.7 26.6 165.7
Spain 21.6 140.7 162.3 265.4 96 294.8 656.1
Sweden 65.3 209.5 274.8 655.9 29.9 59.1 744.9
United Kingdom 26.5 12.6 39.1 70.7 108 397.5 576.2
Total 370.3 1454.8 1825.2 3144.8 1001.1 2613.4 6759.2
Source: Kaltschmitt and Bauen (1999).
154 Bioenergy Realizing the Potential

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