“Bioenergy” refers to all types of energy derived from the conversion of natural, biological sources, covering a vast range of feedstocks and conversion technologies.
Bioenergy represents over 61% of the total renewable energy consumed in Europe and 10% of overall energy consumption. It is the only renewable energy that can provide the three forms of energy demanded by society – heat, electricity, and transport fuels
– thus playing a key role in the decarbonization of Europe’s energy system.
The feedstocks used to produce bioenergy are often referred to as “biomass” which exist can be found in 3 different states: solid, liquid and gaseous. When breaking down the EU’s consumption of biomass for energy, solid biomass (largely from wood residues) is the main source used, accounting for 70% of the total, while the liquid biofuel and biogas sectors account for 11.4% and 11.5% respectively. Municipal waste for energy makes up 7.1%.
Bioenergy is a European success story as a sector in which Europe is a clear leader in terms of production and consumption. The first developments of the modern bioenergy industry occurred in the 1970s with the production of efficient stoves, boilers, and new fuels, such as pellets and briquettes. It was not until the early 2000s, with the enforcement of the EU’s objectives on renewable energy, that the bioenergy sector established itself as a key player in the renewable energy field. Bioenergy consumption has more than doubled since 2000, rising from 55.4 Mtoe to 112.3 Mtoe in 2015. According to EU Member State projections, by 2020 bioenergy should account for 139 Mtoe in Europe, thus playing a major role in reaching the renewable energy target.
In 2015, more than 500,000 people were either directly or indirectly employed by the solid bioenergy sector, equalling the number of people working for the pharmaceutical
industry. This success is mainly due to two reasons: first, 95% of all bioenergy consumed in Europe is locally sourced, mostly from local forest harvesting or wood and agricultural industry residues. As a consequence, the bioenergy sector is shaped by hundreds of SMEs that are deeply embedded in the local social fabric. This dimension is often forgotten in public debate regarding the future of the sector. With this in mind, AEBIOM launched a campaign in late 2017 dedicated to the “European Bioenergy Day” featuring success stories from all across Europe to highlight bioenergy developments.