Sourcing overseas biomass for EU ambitions: assessing net sustainable export potential from various sourcing countries

Thuy Mai-Moulin*, Lotte Visser, Kevin R. Fingerman, Wolter Elbersen, Berien Elbersen, Gert-Jan Nabuurs, Uwe R. Fritsche, Inés Del Campo Colmenar, Dominik Rutz, Rocio A. Diaz-Chavez, Axel Roozen, Mathijs Weck, Leire Iriarte, Luc Pelkmans, David Sanchez Gonzalez, Rainer Janssen, Martin Junginger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Low‐cost sustainable biomass availability in the European Union may not be able to meet increasing demand; exploring the option of importing biomass is therefore imperative for the years to come. This article assesses sustainable biomass export potential from Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Ukraine, and the United States by applying a number of sustainability criteria. Only biomass types with the highest potential are selected, to take advantage of economies of scale, e.g. pulpwood, wood waste, and residues in the United States, and agricultural residues in Ukraine. This study found that, except for the United States, pellet markets in the sourcing regions are largely undeveloped. The export potential depends strongly on pellet mill capacity and assumed growth rates in the pellet industry. Results show that the United States, Ukraine, Indonesia, and Brazil offer the highest biomass export potential. In the Business As Usual 2030 scenario, up to 204 PJ could potentially be mobilized; in the High Export scenario this could increase to 1423 PJ, with 89% of the potential being available for costs ranging from 6.4 to 15 €/GJ. These potentials meet the European Commission requirements for a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions set in the Renewable Energy Directive. The total export potentials do not reflect the net possible import potentials to the European Union, as biomass could be imported to other countries where there is a demand for it, where less strict sustainability requirements are applied, and which are proximate to the sourcing regions, notably South Korea, Japan, and China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-324
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Volume13
Issue number2
Early online date22 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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    Mai-Moulin, T., Visser, L., Fingerman, K. R., Elbersen, W., Elbersen, B., Nabuurs, G-J., Fritsche, U. R., Del Campo Colmenar, I., Rutz, D., Diaz-Chavez, R. A., Roozen, A., Weck, M., Iriarte, L., Pelkmans, L., Sanchez Gonzalez, D., Janssen, R., & Junginger, M. (2019). Sourcing overseas biomass for EU ambitions: assessing net sustainable export potential from various sourcing countries. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 13(2), 293-324. https://doi.org/10.1002/bbb.1853