International and domestic uses of solid biofuels under different renewable energy support scenarios in the European Union

Ric Hoefnagels*, Gustav Resch, Martin Junginger, André Faaij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article describes the development of a geographic information systems (GIS) based biomass transport analysis tool BIT-UU used in combination with the European renewable energy model Green-X. BIT-UU calculates cost and GHG emissions from lowest cost routes, using intermodal transport (by road, rail, inland waterways and sea) between origins of supply and demand destinations. With the developed biomass trade module in Green-X, the role of bioenergy can be evaluated in the larger context of renewable energy deployment. The modeling framework takes into account the current and future energy policies at EU and country levels, competition with alternative sources of renewable energy (e.g. photovoltaic, wind) and sectors (electricity, heat, transport fuels) as well as competition between EU member states for the same biomass resources. Scenario projections to 2020 are used to demonstrate the developed modeling framework. According to these scenarios, biomass from domestic supply remains the most important source of bioenergy (91-93% in 2020). However, the role of traded solid biomass will become increasingly important. With a business as usual scenario, assuming continuation of current renewable energy policies to 2020, the binding renewable energy targets will not be achieved, but trade of solid biomass will still increase up to 451. PJ in 2020. In the scenario that meets the conditions to achieve the 20% renewable energy target in 2020, traded solid biomass is projected to increase to 440. PJ if sustainability criteria are applied (minimum GHG saving) and 506. PJ without these sustainability regulations. Because imports of solid biomass from outside the EU are projected to become larger than intra-EU trade in the scenarios, the scenarios show the importance of improving the representation of extra-EU biomass sources and trade in the modeling framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-157
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2014


  • Bioenergy
  • Biomass trade
  • GIS
  • Renewable energy target
  • Solid biofuel
  • valorisation


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