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4th of November 2010

Challenges and chances of international trade of biomass

Until 2020, 20% of EU energy consumption is to be provided by renewable resources. The demand for biomass is increasing significantly, growing trade and transport of biomass call for appropriate and sustainable solutions.

In February 2009, the 3-year Project 4Biomass was launched, aiming at fostering the sustainable usage of renewable energy sources in Central Europe by putting biomass into action, as the full project title indicates. This project is implemented through the Central Europe Programme co-financed by the ERDF. In the course of this project, the Austrian Energy Agency hosted an international workshop in October 2010 in Vienna titled „Trade of Biomass in Central Europe“ with approximately 60 international experts participating.

The experts´ presentations and discussions did mirror the partly conflicting picture of the prospects and trends of biomass trade. In regard to sustainability-issues, transport of biomass was considered being rather critical. Fostering domestic markets rather than exporting biomass, however, although potentially preferable in terms of sustainability-issues, is a challenging task: as e.g. the experiences in Ukraine and Canada show, fuel markets and thus biomass-exports can be developed more quickly and easily than the domestic markets, which would include the whole demand-side as well.

What will be crucial for a broad acceptance and thus for the prosperity and future of the international trade of biomass is the deployment of reliable, trustworthy and at the same time easy to handle sustainability certificates. Through those means, global trade of biomass may even be able to support sustainable production of biomass and stop illegal deforestation in the countries of origin. Quite a few industry sectors and, from public administration, Germany above all, are leading the way in this regard.

For more information on the project 4Biomass as well as for the presentations of the workshop „Trade of Biomass in Central Europe“, please visit: www.4biomass.eu.


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This project is implemented through
the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme co-financed by the ERDF