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Reviewing wood biomass potentials for energy in Europe: the role of forests and fast growing plantations

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posted on 2017-01-25, 17:44 authored by Blas Mola-Yudego, Javier Arevalo, Olalla Díaz-Yáñez, Ioannis Dimitriou, Elliot Freshwater, Antti Haapala, Tahamina Khanam, Mari Selkimäki

Wood biomass for energy is largely produced in Europe from forest land resulting from silvicultural and management practices or from agricultural land in the form of fast growing plantations. The present paper reviews and compares the estimated current potentials for wood biomass production in 25 countries in Europe. The potentials are divided attending to these sources to identify the most suitable method of wood biomass production on a country level, based on its current forest and agriculture levels of production. Data has been collected and compiled from previous models and estimations. The total aggregated available potential in Europe is 76 Mm3 of wood biomass from the forests, with an additional 90 Mm3 from increasing the utilization of forest lands, and 98 Mm3 from fast growing plantations (dedicating 5% of current agricultural land). Germany and France showed high potentials both from agriculture and forest; Finland and Sweden had most of its potential from forest sources; and Spain, Poland, and UK from fast-growing plantations. When considered together, Europe presents a large potential for wood biomass production for energy, and each country should develop different policy strategies of promotion attending to the most available source to realize this potential efficiently.


This work was supported by the Swedish Research Council (Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas) [grant number 2014-245]; Swedish Energy Administration (Energimyndigheten) [grant number P35138-1].