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BioGrace-II Project Background

Achieve harmonisation

The overall motivation to start this project is the observation that sustainability criteria for electricity, heat and cooling from solid and gaseous biomass are not yet harmonised. In January 2010, the European Commission published report COM(2010)11 in which it did not propose binding sustainability criteria at EU level as it is the case for  biofuels and bioliquids where such criteria have been made obligatory by the Renewable Energy Directive  (2009/28/EC; RED) and the amendment of the Fuel Quality Directive (2009/30/EC; FQD). Instead, the Commission made recommendations to Member States that are planning to introduce sustainability criteria for solid and gaseous biomass used in electricity, heating and cooling. These recommendations must ensure that sustainability criteria are harmonised between member states and are in line with the methodology as laid down in the RED. This would ensure greater consistency and avoid unwarranted discrimination in the use of raw  materials.

Enhance understanding of methodology

For electricity and heat from biomass, some national calculations tools for GHG calculations have been developed (Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and UK) but a discussion on harmonisation of these tools has not yet started. Part of such a harmonisation is a discussion on the methodology of making GHG calculations for solid and gaseous biomass. The report COM(2010)11 gives guidance for the GHG-methodology and presents default values for the GHG-savings for various biomass pathways. This information is however not as easy to use as the information in the RED, e.g. there are no disaggregated default values given and the conversion technology used is not specified. This project can play an important role in improving the suitability of the information in this  communication.

The important user needs and market barriers that will be tackled by this project are the following:

  • Trading barriers

When a minimum GHG saving has to be proven, different GHG calculation methods in member states lead to  restrictions for biomass trade across borders. It will lead to additional administrative costs (e.g. double GHG  calculations and verifications). It can be a barrier for the development of large biomass supply chains for biomass coming from outside of the EU.

  • Verification problems by auditors

Auditors report that GHG-saving calculations are often difficult to verify. This is caused by the complexity of the matter plus the large number of data that has to be checked in combination with the different reporting structures that are being used.

  • Level playing field between member states

Different GHG methodology and different input values could lead to an artificial variation on GHG performance between member states, thus limiting the establishment of a level playing field between member states.

The project BioGrace-II builds upon the earlier (2010-2012) IEE-project BioGrace which harmonised GHG calculations for biofuels for transport.