Import of biomass or using local biomass to reach the renewable energy objectives?

Biomass can be used in lots of different products, applications and industries. All European countries need biomass toreach the European goals for renewable energy. So does Belgium. In Belgium waste and energy policy is a competenceof the Regions. Belgium has three regions: Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia. More as 50 % of the renewable energy sources have to come from using solid biomass in order to reach the goal of 20% energy from renewable sources in 2020.

In Flanders (6 million inhabitants) in the last two decades, the Public Waste Agency (OVAM) has given very active attention with regards to an integrated approach of biomass and biowaste. Prevention measures, the separate collection of good quality biomass and biowaste materials and quality control on the organic-biological treatment chainrepresent a win win for the local authorities, industries and the environment. Flanders was one of the first EC memberstates to imply the landfill directive strategically. Since 2007 less than 5% of the industrial biowaste and sewage sludgeis disposed of on landfill sites - to reduce green house gas emissions, in order to mitigate climate change. Nowadays the demand of biomass in the different industries grows quicker as the production, the question rises where and how biomass can be applied the best in the economy.The OVAM develops a mix of decision tools to guarantee the most sustainable applications for the different biomassmaterials. In 2012 the new material legislation will be implemented and replaces the waste legislation. This material legislation aims the recycling of the biomass/biowaste e.g. digestion of biowaste and composting the digestate insteadof incinerating. Landfilling is no longer admitted. Furthermore, sustainability indicators for solid biomass are beingworked out based on the 3 P's (People, Planet, Profit) in order to evaluate the social, environmental and economicalimpact of local biomass or imported biomass. This analysis is important to decide in which application the biomass canbe applied in the most efficient way. The analysis of the local biomass market will be updated each two years to findpotential land and potential biomass materials that can be used. For biomass flows which cannot be recycled,incineration plants are build, new technical solutions are in development. To ensure sustainable treatment and the right biomass treatment capacity in Flanders, adequate incentives and coherent regulations from the government are essential. They should create a positive investment climate for a long term, in order to attract and finance the necessary(re)investments. One of the sustainable targets is reaching good quality of the end products of biological treatment (e.g. of the pelletiseddigestates), in order that biological nutrients can stay in the organic-biological cycle. 90% of the food industry sludge isof good quality and is recycled/treated in a biogas plant before using in agriculture. Direct and indirect Land use changeand greenhouse gas emission reduction are important sustainability criteria for locally produced as well as importedbiomass. More as 50% of the wood pellets have to be imported in order to reach the renewable energy targets. The success of this sustainable cradle-to-cradle-policy and green economy is due to the following:
• a long term coherent and clear policy and framework stimulating the treatment of locally produced biomass and useof local biowaste
• supported by different instruments: sensitisation, different support for building treatment facilities, green powercertificates for producing electricity of biogas from digestion and for producing electricity of incineration of notrecyclable bio waste.
This biobased economy policy based on the combination of import and locally produced biomass leads step-by-step to amore optimized economical and ecological situation, less depending on the variability of the world market of fuel and biomass.



Copyright: © European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Source: Orbit 2012 (Juni 2012)
Pages: 7
Price: € 7,00
Autor: Ann Braekevelt

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