Allocation of biomass resources for minimising energy system greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Union (EU) energy policy has three targets: supply security, development of a competitive energy sector and environmental sustainability. The EU countries have issued so-called National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAP) for increased renewable energy generation. Biomass is stipulated to account for 56% of renewable energy generation by 2020, corresponding to an increase in bioenergy generation from 2.4 109 GJ in 2005 to 5.7 109 GJ in 2020. There is uncertainty about the amounts of biomass available in the EU, and import challenges policy targets on supply security and sustainability. We address issues about how, from a technical point of view, the EU may deploy its biomass resources to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy consumption. We investigate if deployment patterns depend on resource availability and technological development. In situations with adequate biomass availability the analysis suggests that liquid fuel production should be based on agricultural residues. Electricity production should be based on forest residues and other woody biomass and heat production on forest and agricultural residues. Improved conversion technologies implicitly relax the strain on biomass resources and improve supply security.