A renewable energy source with great potential
Biomass is the third most important renewable energy source in the European energy mix, after hydro and wind. It is also, alongside wind power, the fastest growing form of renewable energy.
Unlike fossil fuels, combustion of biomass does not contribute to the greenhouse effect in the long run. When biomass fuels are burned, the quantity of carbon dioxide released is the same as the amount the plants consumed during their lifetime. One exception is peat, which when burned, is regarded as a net contributor to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
However, the climate impact of peat is considerably less than that of fossil fuels. Since biomass can be burned together with coal in coal-fired power plants, it is an effective way of rapidly reducing CO2 emissions. In countries that obtain a high proportion of their electricity from coal, a major increase in co-combustion can make a significant contribution towards meeting national targets for renewable energy.
Vattenfall is one of Europe’s leading companies in the sector. Vattenfall runs plants fuelled in full or in part by biomass and every year Vattenfall uses more than 3 million tonnes of biomass, an amount that is steadily increasing.
Vattenfall runs several major biomass projects. In Germany Vattenfall has plans for biomass power plants in Berlin and Hamburg. In the Netherlands projects are planned to increase the amount of biomass co-firing in the coal-fired plants in Amsterdam and Buggenum.
Of the biomass used by Vattenfall, more than 60% consists of domestic and industrial waste which otherwise would not be used. By-products from the forest industry account for 30%, while the remainder is primarily made up of by-products from agriculture.
Increasing the share of biomass in the energy mix will require increased production of energy crops and energy forests as well as an increase in international trade in biomass. Vattenfall is therefore working throughout the entire value chain, from tree planting to power plants.
Visit our power plants - Biomass (new window)