21 April 2005

Biomass energy sources to combat greenhouse effect

Reflecting environmental and societal concerns, the EU is focusing on the evaluation of biomass-based energy systems as an alternative to fossil fuels. Linking with the International Energy Agency (IEA), the EU’s BIOCOGEN project sought to investigate the potential use of bioenergy systems in Europe.

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units provide energy both for heating and power purposes. Using biomass to fuel these plants across the EU could be closer to reality than initially envisaged. Using biomass as an energy source offers an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, not least because of its potential to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

BIOCOGEN researchers reviewed the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of biomass cogeneration and compared those to fossil fuel energy systems. This followed work previously carried out by the IEA, which focused on biomass and bioenergy systems. The review report provides details on a series of computer models that were created to monitor greenhouse gas emissions using different fuel systems. In total, 34 bioenergy and 18 fossil energy systems were evaluated and compared.

Results showed that biomass-based CHP units produced approximately 90% less greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuelled CHP units. Further advantages were assigned to particular types of biomass and the by-products they result in.

Overall, the final report relating to this particular work can be used to clearly demonstrate the benefits associated with the use of biomass-based energy systems. As such, it is an important information tool for the private sector and the utilities industries.

Contact Details
Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
Mr Hannes Schwaiger (Project manager)
Steyrergasse 17
8010 Graz
Tel: +43-316-8761316
Fax: +43-316-87691316
Email: hannes.schwaiger@joanneum.at

Source: CORDIS Austria R&D Information Service Apr 18, 2005.

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