Woody biomass role in EU 20% target for RE consumption and influences on pellets trade

How are the EU member states contributing to the 20% target for EU’s renewable energy consumption? Which role for woody biomass and how this influences pellets trade?

A recent paper by Proskurina et al. (Biomass & Bioenergy; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2016.09.016) discusses this interesting topic. Among the conclusions:

  • For countries that already reach their national biomass targets or have a difference less than 15%, woody biomass plays an important role for electricity generation and H&C sector, mostly for Finland and Austria.
    Finland, Romania, Austria and Sweden have a large biomass potential.
  • Countries whose biomass still needs to increase from 15% to 30% have a realistic likelihood of reaching their own local biomass targets. Denmark, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Slovakia are likely to increase woody biomass use for heat and electricity production.

  • In countries whose required biomass share increase is more than 30%, France and the UK have huge domestic energy consumption, thus, the development of renewables in these countries is crucial. Belgium and the Netherlands have woody biomass demand higher than potential.

Reported trends can be compared with new data from Schipfer et al. (CEBC, 2017, here) presenting their report (here) about the International wood pellet trade for Small-scale heating in the EU. Further details concerning the global wood pellets industry (2017 update) here.

Japan bioenergy development: BIOFACT 4.0 fuel report for Palm Kernel Shells

Asia’s demand for biomass is growing rapidly. The majority of global demand growth for industrial wood pellets after 2018 is expected to come, due to energy policy, from Japan and South Korea.

In Japan, the market is supported by a feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme which provides a 20-year subsidy to firms producing renewable energy. By March 2017 almost 12GW of biomass projects had been approved under the FIT scheme. Industrial groups are moving in this direction, as an example, ENGIE recently signed a 15-year biomass supply contract with Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Biomass type used in Japan, in general, will be industrial pellets (from Canada, US, Vietnam, Russia) and low grade biomass such as palm kernel shells (PKS) mainly imported from Indonesia and Malaysia.

BIOFACT was recently involved in the analysis of a sample of Palm Kernel Shells. The results are reported in the following.

Download the BIOFACT Fuel Report for a Sample of Palm Kernel Shells
(The results are related to the specific sample: do not represent generalised fuel behaviour)


  • Wood Bioenergy, October 2017.
  • Forward 2/2017 (Valmet).
  • bioenergy-news.com/display_news/12433/
  • endswasteandbioenergy.com/article/1442330/

BIOFACT helps partner to screen residues from the production of biofuels

We have been recently involved in the screening of lignin rich residues from the biofuels industry!

Lignin rich streams are a side product from agro residues biorefining. Hydrolytic or dried lignin rich effluents may be used e.g.  for heat and power production in gasification and combustion installations.

Example of lignin rich residues from lignocellulose bio refining. Courtesy of N. Cerone et al. by the ENEA, presented at the 25th EUBC&E, Stockholm. All rights reserved to owner.

We screened three samples of lignin rich residues from different sources, for potential energy production applications. For the sake of simplicity, samples have been enumerated here progressively #1-3.

Lignin rich residue #1

Lignin rich residue #2

Lignin rich residue #3

Results are very sample specific and depend on the feedstock initially processed in the biofuels production plant. This information was carefully considered to further explore issues in the lignin residues energy valorization in bio refineries.

BIOFACT helps to define the applicability of different samples of the same fuel but with different compositions.

Mapping UK Bioenergy Research 

Developed by the EBRI Group at Aston University, Mapping UK Bioenergy Research Stakeholders provides a current, holistic overview of bioenergy research in the UK to encourage and promote collaboration between research stakeholders.

Bioenergy is the largest contributor to global renewable energy supply but needs to triple its contribution by 2050 to support sector decarbonisation and safeguard future generations.

Download the report

Source: aston.ac.uk/eas/research/groups/ebri/projects/ukbioenergy-mapping

The Biomass Ash Chart – BY BIOFACT: ash content for 500+ biomass fuels

The Biomass Ash Chart – BY BIOFACT is a high quality synthetic plot of the amounts of the Inorganic Fraction for 500+ solid biomass fuels. The fuels are belonging to different classes (20+) such as stem woods, barks, straws and grasses, shells and husks, fruits and residues, animal and industrial wastes. Median values for fossil fuels are included for comparison. It is useful to expand your overview on the renewable fuels portfolio.

Request us a high quality PDF suitable for A1 printing, email at defusco.biofact@gmail.com (for customers and company email only)

Solid biomass: 8 business development topics for 2018

Here 8 business development topics for 2018:

  1. Rising bioenergy and biomass demand in Asia: The Asian Market. E.g.: growing demand for PKS in Japan/South Korea. How about Asia beyond 2020? What’s next after Asia?
  2. Commercialisation of advanced pellets and low-cost black pellets (can black pellets compete with white pellets on a cost basis?)
  3. Moving into the residential market: expanded residential applications with the integration of biomass heating in smart building systems
  4. Pelletizing other raw material than sawdust and chips like wood recovery or logging residues
  5. Smaller, more efficient in-woods chippers. Transport: increased shipping of wood chips
  6. Investment in torrefaction plants; investment in hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass to make renewable transport fuels and value-added chemicals.
  7. New power station conversions: from coal to biomass
  8. Secure government support

The biggest challenges in the biomass sector are, according to Argus Biomass:

  1. Government and policy support -> Working more closely with governments to gain support
  2. Low fossil fuel prices making biomass less competitive -> e.g. looking how to commercialise black pellets
  3. Lack of clarity over regulations -> Working more closely with governments
  4. High risk in investment decisions -> Carefully investing in new technologies
  5. Competition from alternative renewable sources -> Looking at ways to improve competitiveness in the industry
  6. Lack of market liquidity -> Identifying growth areas globally

Concerning the wood chip market, the 6 biggest challenges are, according to Argus Biomass:

  1. Lack of standardisation: varying quality and moisture content -> Looking for new partners to source from and working closer with biomass traders
  2. Immaturity of the market -> Investing in new technologies
  3. Cost of transportation -> Looking at options to transport in bigger vessels
  4. Lack of sustainability criteria -> Looking for solutions for sustainability assurance
  5. A fragmented market due to varying legislation -> Working closer with biomass traders
  6. Logistics and shipping -> Improving the efficiency of the supply chain


The BIOFACT Team wishes You great seasonal holidays and a happy new year!


BIOFACT helps partner to screen coffee industry residues for combustion

We have been recently involved in the screening of solid residues from the coffee industry! Used coffee grounds are the waste product from brewing coffee. Coffee grounds may be used e.g.  for composting, biogas production or heat and power production.

Our partner wanted to screen four samples of coffee grounds from different sources for energy production units.

For the sake of simplicity, samples have been enumerated here progressively #1-4.

All samples are characterized by a high risk indicator related to NOx emissions. Interestingly, samples #1, #3, #4 exhibited a similar risk profile (or fuel “fingerprint”). However, the sample #2 evidenced different risks: clearly higher corrosion, fouling and slagging/agglomeration risks than the other three samples. This was further confirmed by pilot testing.

Coffee grounds fuel #1Coffee grounds fuel #2
Coffee grounds fuel #3
Coffee grounds fuel #4

This information was carefully considered by the partner for the fuel selection process and to further explore current issues in the running coffee grounds fuel processing installations.

BIOFACT helped to define the applicability of different fuel samples of the same fuel but with slightly different chemical compositions!

Best regards,

The Biofact project