For the EU-funded project “Energy Wood Production Chains in Europe” (Echaine), researchers have estimated available quantities of energy wood in a medium time horizon (about 10 years) and discussed aspects which influence the potential in a long-range perspective (about 50 years).
The research team found that the total potential of different biomass fuels in Europe is about 9 exajoules per annum (EJ/a) while the current use is about 2EJ/a. This means that only about 20% of the total resources are in use today. The practically available annual biomass fuel quantity in Europe is about 5EJ/a.
According to the researchers, additionally over 160 million m3 of woody biomass per year (1EJ/a) could be used for energy in the EU. Biomass currently covers approximately 14% of the world’s final energy consumption and 6.8% of the EU’s final energy consumption (25 Member States). The corresponding share of all renewables is about 10.3% in the 25 Member States. The share of wood in the energy supply (wood as fuel in households and wood as fuel in industry and power plants) in the 25 Member States is about 50% of all renewables. This means that the share of wood in the EU’s energy system is about 5.3%.
However, the project team stresses that while it is usually possible to estimate the total quantity of biomass, the quantity practically available is still very difficult to estimate.
The article “Potential of energy wood” (PDF-document) gives further details of the results.
Source: CORDIS focus, Results Supplement No 63, 2007-05.