Bioenergy insight – Bioheat, Biopower, Biofuel

In 2014, bioenergy consumption reached 105.489 ktoe which is more than double the consumption in 2000. This increase is equivalent to the annual coal consumption in the industry, residential and services sectors together. According to Member States’ projections , by 2020, almost 140.000 ktoe are expected to be consumed yearly, which would imply a growth of 32% when compared to 2014. Going into the detail of each market segment, aggregated Member States’ projections are expecting an increase of 16,9% for heat by 2020. For electricity, the expected growth reaches 38% by 2020. Finally, transport is expected to grow by 105% by 2020. These projections were provided by Member States in 2010 and were indicative. According to AEBIOM, while the projections for heat and electricity can be reached, this is likely not the case for transport. From these projections, it is clear that bioenergy will keep playing a major role in reaching EU climate change objectives (8095% GHG emissions reductions by 2050) and will help the EU-28 to fulfill its COP21 commitments.





In the bioheat sector, residential consumption remains a strong driver with half of total consumption (50,1%). The residential sector consists of individual heating appliances such as stoves and boilers using wood logs, woodchips or pellets. This sector may decrease in volume of biomass consumption in the near future due to energy efficiency measures. For instance, the Ecodesign legislation will impact consumption as new domestic heating appliances put on the market will have to comply with a minimum energy efficiency threshold. Industry (26,6%) and derived heat (15,8%) represent together about 40% of biomass consumption in the heating sector. These sectors, together with medium-scale installations in services such as schools, hospitals and hotels still have a great potential for development.




As far as industry is concerned, many companies have already switched from fossil fuels to biomass, but more can be done in the coming years. Derived heat, carried through district heating networks to individuals and business, is also an important component of EU bioheat consumption and is essential, especially in Nordic and Baltic countries. This segment has a high potential for being further developed. On this matter, strong political will and support of initial investment are critical to foster these developments. While looking at the distribution of bioheat consumption, 5 countries accounted for more than 50% of all use in the EU-28. Germany is the biggest producer of bioheat in Europe with 11,1 Mtoe, representing a share of 14%. Sweden followed by France produce with 8,8 Mtoe and 7,0 Mtoe respectively. Nevertheless, the first one suffered from the biggest increase compared with previous years, its bioheat consumption decreasing 1,4 Mtoe from 2013 to 2014.






Most renewable power is generated by wind, hydropower and photovoltaic sources. Bioenergy represents 18% of the EU renewable electricity production. As intermittency remains an issue in the near future, biomass will play a growing role as a back-up, dispatchable energy source. It is very important to note that, contrary to what the current EU discussions on biopower suggest, the majority of biomass electricity (60,4%) comes from combined heat and power plants (CHP). In comparison, for traditional power generation, the situation is exactly the opposite: in the overall EU energy mix in power, CHP plants represent only 11,7% whereas power only plants amount to 88,3%. This shows that bioenergy is actually an effective means to further develop CHP in Europe.




As for bioheat, the EU-28’s top 5 countries generating bioelectricity represent more than half of the total (66,8%). Germany is also by far the biggest producer of bioelectricity with 4,2 Mtoe (30%), followed by the United Kingdom with 1,9 Mtoe (14%) and Italy with 1,6 Mtoe (11%).




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All statistics featured in the following section come from the AEBIOM 2016 Statistical Report. If you want more insight do not hesitate to download the ‘Key Findings’ of the report (free of charge) and order a copy of the full report (consult the table of content of the 2016 Edition).

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First published in 2007, AEBIOM Statistical Report – European Bioenergy Outlook, has sought to provide European stakeholders with a comprehensive overview of the latest market trends in bio-heat, bio-electricity and bio-fuel sectors. The Full Report (200+ pages) gathers statistics, infographics and the most up-to-date data on the developments of the European bioenergy industry. The report is an important tool for the industry and for investors and policy makers to make informed evaluations and decisions. For more information, visit:

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