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Closing Panel 2 (with focus on Europe, Africa, South-America & India)

Thursday, 9 December 2021

12:00 - 2:00 pm UTC

How can biomass/bioenergy aid the transformation towards carbon neutrality and what actions are needed?

This closing session summarized some of the key findings from the technical sessions.

Panelists from different countries (see regional focus) provided input on what they see as main development opportunities on biomass in their country, what are the main challenges and what is needed to accelerate developments and deployment.

Kees Kwant, Senior Expert Bioenergy and Biobased Economy, NL Enterprise Agency (RVO), The Netherlands

Introductory presentation: Key conclusions from the technical sessions of the conference
Luc Pelkmans, Technical Coordinator, IEA Bioenergy TCP, Belgium

Renato Godinho, Head Division for New and Renewable Energy Resources, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazil
Barry Bredenkamp, General Manager, Energy Efficiency, SANEDI South African National Energy Development Institute, South Africa
Sangita Kasture, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, India
Birger Kerckow, Head of Department EU/International Affairs, FNR Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, Germany
Jonas Lindmark, Program Manager, Swedish Energy Agency, Sweden
Francisco José Dominguez Pérez, Bioenergy and Waste Department, IDAE Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy, Spain


  • Bioenergy forms a substantial part of the energy matrix in Brazil, with public policies playing an important role. It is anticipated that biomass supply can increase 2.5 times compared to current levels without land expansion, predominantly through better yields and the use of residues. There is a new generation of smart policies, such as RenovaBio (based on carbon footprint reductions) and the Future Fuel Program for the transport sector.
  • Bioenergy is currently not embraced to a great extent yet in South Africa. The immediate priority is access to reliable grid electricity. Biomass opportunities need to be further developed within the current context in South Africa, with waste and residues considered as best options. Integration with other solutions such as variable renewables and green hydrogen will be key.
  • There are many opportunities for biomass in India. The main focus so far is on transport biofuels, with specific targets for ethanol blending, biodiesel blending and compressed biogas (CBG), and research programmes for advanced biofuels. Greater investments are needed in innovation and capacity building, also through international cooperation.
  • Germany recently strengthened its climate and energy targets. A huge contribution is expected of fluctuating energy sources (PV, wind), while bioenergy receives less attention driven by public perception related to food vs fuel and forest biomass. The strengths of bioenergy in flexible energy systems (electricity, gas, fuels) need to be further emphasised and exploited and public acceptance needs to be increased by fact-based information and sustainable biomass strategies for all uses.
  • Biomass is already important in the Swedish energy system. The implementation of the CO2 tax in 1991 changed the heat and power sector, as well as industries, shifting to biomass instead of fossil fuels for their energy requirements. There is also a strong uptake of biofuels in the transport sector, based on GHG reduction targets. The main bioenergy development opportunities are in advanced biofuels, bio-CCS and bio-CCU, and changing business models for CHP plants to fit in the developing energy system. Long term sustainable management of forests and their contribution to the bioeconomy and climate targets is in the centre of the debate.
  • Bioenergy policies in Spain have a special focus on thermal uses in industries, advanced biofuels (including SAF) and renewable gases. There are important synergies between forest management and bioenergy production for forest fire prevention. Biomass value chains can revitalize rural areas; biogas has a relevant role, particularly in agriculture and waste management. 

General conclusions:

  • There is a general understanding that no single technology will solve all problems and that there is a place for biomass also in a system with electrification and hydrogen. Integration of bioenergy in new energy systems is a key topic, with flexibility as important asset.
  • Sustainability of biomass value chains is another key topic. To de-risk investments there needs to be a clear understanding of what sustainable biomass means and how much biomass can be mobilized within sustainability constraints.
  • Biomethane is gaining attention to decarbonize gas grids, but also as transport fuel, particularly in heavy duty applications.
  • Reliable and coherent political framework conditions are of key importance to motivate investments and to scale up new technologies.
  • The most important policy measures to support biomass applications are carbon pricing, support RD&D to lower costs and obligations in specific markets.



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