The European Biomass Association (AEBIOM) is the common voice of the bioenergy sector with the aim to develop a sustainable bioenergy market in Europe based on fair business conditions. Founded in 1990, AEBIOM is a non-profit, Brussels-based international organisation that brings together around 30 national associations and 90 companies from across Europe, representing over 4000 indirect members including companies and research centers.
The European Biomass Association is a non profit Brussels based international organisation founded in 1990 whose mission is to develop the market for sustainable bioenergy, and ensure favorable business conditions for its members. Find out more about our activities in the AEBIOM Annual Report 2010. AEBIOM brings together 30 national associations and about 80 companies from all over Europe thus representing more than 4000 indirect members including companies, research centers and individuals.
Europe wide representation
AEBIOM holds a strong position representing all bioenergy sectors and has a unique possibility to influence European directives, communications and various other EU papers. Further to that, AEBIOM is a member of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) with its offices based in the Renewable Energy House which is the central point for renewable energy issues in Europe.
- Lobbying European institutions
- Networking among its members
- EU project management
- Communication activities including bi-monthly newsletter
- Information dissemination
- Event organisation such as the annual AEBIOM European Bioenergy Conference and workshops on specific bioenergy topics
These activities are managed via General Assembly, Steering Committee and the Board.
What is biomass?
In the Renewable energy directive (2009/28/EC) biomass is defined as follows: 'Biomass means the biodegradable fraction of products, wastes and residues from biological origin from agriculture (including vegetable and animal substances), forestry and related industries including fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the biodegradable fraction of industrial and municipal waste'.
In order words biomass is any material of organic origin and can be very diverse, e.g. wood, straw, vegetable oil, manure, agro-industrial wastes, organic waste are all biomass and can be used to produce energy.
Forest and wood-based industries produce wood which is the largest resource of solid biomass. The sector covers a wide range of different biomass fuels with different characteristics – wood logs, bark, wood chips, sawdust and more recently pellets. Pellets, due to their high energy density and standardized characteristics, offer great opportunities for developing the bioenergy market worldwide. Biomass procurement logistics from forest to bioenergy plants are subject to major improvements.
Available land can be used for growing conventional crops such as rape, wheat, maize etc. for energy purposes. Agriculture can also provide dedicated energy crops (poplar, willow, miscanthus and others) as well as by-products such as animal manure and straw.
Biodegradable waste can cover several forms of waste such as organic fraction of municipal solid waste, wood waste, refused-derived fuels (RDF), sewage sludge, etc.
Each biomass resource has different characteristics in terms of moisture content, calorific value, moisture and ash content, etc. that requires appropriate conversion technologies for bioenergy production. These conversion routes use chemical, thermal and/or biological processes.
Biomass for Heat
Heat Production: Combustion of solid biomass (mainly wood) for heat production is the main bioenergy route in the world, with a constant drive for improved efficiency and reduced air emissions. Several systems can be considered, depending on the size. Small-scale heating systems for households typically use firewood or pellets in stoves or boilers. Medium-scale users typically burn wood chips in grate boilers while large-scale boilers are able to burn a larger variety of fuels, including wood waste and refuse-derived fuel. Heat can also be produced on a medium or large scale through cogeneration which provides heat for industrial processes in the form of steam and can supply district heat networks.
Biomass for Electricity
Electricity: Combustion followed by a steam cycle is the main technology for the time being but new technologies exist such as ORC-plants or gasification. Biomass is used as the main fuel but can also be co-combusted with coal or peat. Biogas from anaerobic digestion is mainly used on site for cogeneration applications but the biogas can also be upgraded into biomethane and injected in the gas grid.
Biomass for Transport
Liquid Biofuels: Vegetable oil methyl esters (biodiesel), can be used, both blended with fossil diesel and in pure form. Use in blends below 7% does not require any modification of the engine.
Pure vegetable oils can also be used but engines have to be adapted. Ethanol can be used in gasoline engines either at low blends (up to 10%), in high blends in Flexible Fuel Vehicles or in pure form in adapted engines. Ethanol can also be processed into ETBE (ethyl tertio butyl ether) and blended in gasoline.
Biomethane can also be used by vehicles equipped for natural gas. Advanced biofuels from wood, lignocelluloses and waste, such a BTL, DME or ethanol are subject to intense R&D efforts.