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Bioenergy and RED II

Importance of origin of biofuels

Bioenergy of the short distances

The more energy-saving modern heating technology becomes, the more important the upstream chains of the fuels become for the overall climate balance of heating. Since the transports in the entire upstream chains and the origin of the raw materials are not visible to fuels either, proofs such as WOOD FROM HERE are becoming increasingly important, especially with energy wood.


The burning of wood itself is considered to be climate-neutral ("0" kg CO2), since as much CO2 is released here as in the wood  growth has been tied. However, this only applies if the wood comes from sustainable forestry and has traveled short distances in the chain of custody. If the wood is not produced sustainably, less will grow back and this amount lost has to be added to the CO2 balance. Transporting energy wood over long distances significantly worsens the CO2 balance and is very negative from a climate protection perspective, especially since the CO2 stored in the wood is released again in the short term, especially in the case of short-lived products such as energy wood.

In the "Clean Energy" area of the GREEN DEAL, the EU Commission announced the stronger integration of energy systems and better connection of renewable energy sources to the grid. Many measures in the energy sector are based on technical ones
innovations. The importance of the upstream chains, especially the short distances, for climate protection, especially in the case of fuels, is to be briefly shown here using examples.

Climate-friendly energy wood only with short distances in the processing chains ​​


In the case of energy wood products in particular, it is important to pay attention to the origin and transport, because here the transport routes have more of an impact on the climate balance than the production.

For example, firewood with an HVH certificate instead of from the Ukraine saves 121 kg CO2/t during transport (compare to production 16 kg CO2/t), pellets with an HVH certificate instead of from Russia save 534 kg CO2/t (compare to production 219 kg CO2/t). t).

​​ The consumption of fuel wood in households and heating (power) plants has increased significantly. The paths of energy wood are becoming longer and longer. In the case of energy wood, it is increasingly important for a positive climate balance whether it is energy wood that is used over short distances. The main quantities of energy wood are handled by large traders, which is why the imports are quite considerable.

Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic and countries such as the Netherlands, which with their large ports are important transhipment points for overseas goods to Europe, account for the main part of the volume-weighted CO2 emissions when importing energy wood products to Germany.

The CO2 saving through the use of short-distance energy wood instead of these superfluous transports would save about 4.5 times as much CO2 in Germany alone as the European Green Building.

HOLZ VON HIER and the Biomasseverband support municipalities in the procurement of biomass from short distances and regional heating networks as part of the implementation of RED II  ​​

The trade estimates that with the implementation of RED II, the material flows in the upstream chains of energy fuels will be much larger than before.  

Wood firing is sometimes viewed in a bad light today, since (some) material flows are becoming increasingly globalized and are shaping the formation of opinion here. This will intensify with the implementation of RED II. This generally harms the use of biomass for energy, even in sectors where global material flows are less predominant.

Although RED II initially only applies to plants > 1 MW, it can be assumed that this will also be applied to smaller, especially municipal biomass plants, because the trading structures, which supply the large power plants with mostly international fuels, are also trying to cater to this sector will. The RED II regulation itself indirectly admits that decentralized projects could have a hard time under RED II and that care should be taken to ensure that discriminatory conditions do not arise here (RED II page L 328/91, para. 65).


Most of the biomass sustainability certifications that are currently approved are globalized schemes which will strongly encourage the tendency for global biomass flows into the EU to increase. This puts the domestic biomass at a disadvantage.

In order for a municipality to be able to decide in the future for climate-friendly regional biomass of short distances in accordance with RED II, a system is needed that maps this RED II compliant and can be used by municipalities. The HOLZ VON HIER certification system works together with partners towards accreditation in accordance with RED II. WOOD FROM HERE will work closely with existing higher-level European systems that also certify other biomass (agricultural products, liquid, gaseous, etc.) (eg RedCert if possible).

HOLZ VON HIER and the German Biomass Association are looking for municipalities that will show together with them that it is also possible to implement biomass over short distances under RED II and thus combine climate protection, resource efficiency and regional value creation using practical model examples. Decentralized municipal projects that implement this will also become the spearhead of communication in the regions for sustainable and climate-friendly bioenergy use from domestic raw, residual and biogenic waste materials in environmental communication.



Designed bioenergy...

Implement together...  

Our economy depends on energy and raw materials. Dealing with it sustainably is becoming increasingly important. At the same time, essential goods such as climate, water, soil and biodiversity must be protected. When battles over the distribution of raw materials, water, food and energy increase in the world, everyone is affected, people, the environment and the economy. Fossil fuels are becoming scarce (statistical range with current production: oil 40, natural gas 60, coal approx. 150 years, USGS data). Solutions to the energy problem must be found in the current and next generation of decision-makers. Renewable energies, including bioenergy, are becoming increasingly important worldwide, but must be implemented in a sensible overall concept.

Designed bioenergy means sensible, climate and environmentally friendly use of bioenergy. This also includes significant savings, increases in efficiency and conversion processes as well as systemic solutions, such as: saving energy, using more renewable energies in a mix, biomass of the shortest distances from sustainable cultivation, avoiding competition for use, developing branch-internal and cross-sector, innovative waste heat concepts, use of substitute fuels, Renunciation of bio/agricultural energy sources with poor climate balance and replacement with innovations.

Wood and biomass in products and biofuels is especially climate-friendly if it is (1) made from sustainable sources
Cultivation / management, (2) has been transported as short as possible throughout the processing route (wood of short distances) and (3) has been processed in a way that saves resources and energy or is burned as the final stage in a cascade use.


Save energy!

Saving energy in all sectors is the most important source of energy we have!

Saving energy is practical climate and environmental protection, technical progress and means innovation, unique selling point on the market and profitability. The world primary energy demand has increased 30% in 20 years (largest energy consumers: North America, Asia, Europe). China has increased its energy needs by 50% and is only 20% below that of the US. Energy-saving measures were partly reversed globally by growth processes (economy, population). The German energy requirement has decreased by >6% in 20 years, this is still a long way from the possibilities for saving energy. Traffic consumes about 30%, consumption has increased here. Around 44% is consumed by industry and commerce. In many industries, the energy costs are <1% of the product price, saving energy has little economic motivation here. Although lighting requires only 2% of the energy, measures in households mainly focus on this. Due to the increased equipment with electrical devices, the electricity requirement has increased by 12%, although the devices have become less consuming. Since 2000, 11% energy has been saved for space heating.


Increased use of renewable energies (RE) in the mix

Biomass use, hydroelectric power, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, ocean energy.

The share of renewable energy in the world primary energy requirement is >17%. About 60% is biomass, 35% hydropower, wind, solar, etc. still play a minor role globally. The share of RE is high where biomass is traditionally used  Cooking/heating is used: such as Africa (34%), South America (22%), Asia (23%). Of the global wood extraction from forests (3 billion m3), 60% is used as firewood/charcoal. The USA, as the largest energy consumer in the world, only has a 5% share of renewable energy, Europe 16%, and the Pacific States 3%. The proportion of renewables is declining in emerging countries because biomass is being replaced there by gas to generate heat. In industrialized nations, RES are increasing due to the increased use of
Biofuels, co-incineration of woody biomass in power plants, use of biomass in biogas plants. Today, < 1% of the global electricity requirement is generated from biomass, and the trend is rising. The share of renewables in Germany has increased by 60% in the last 10 years and today accounts for 10-20% of the total energy requirement. Biomass and wind power are mainly used.


Biomass of short distances from sustainable cultivation

... no biomass from primary forests and plantations after 2000 where previously primary forest was cleared .

Bioenergy is one of Europe's pillars to achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The original goal for the promotion of bioenergy was and is to make a contribution to climate protection. Optimum CO2-neutral combustion is given when the raw material comes from environmentally friendly cultivation and has traveled short distances. This is only the energetic use of thinning wood or small wood from our, for a long time sustainably managed
Forests or sawmill residues from local companies are almost CO2-neutral. Burning imported wood (e.g. tropical wood), especially from unclear origin or primary forests, is not CO2-neutral. Also in the wood energy sector always have
more products long transport distances behind. It is therefore essential to pay attention to designed development, climate and environmental friendliness of the raw materials and the shortest possible distances, even with bioenergy. Fuels with wood from Hier certificate are a best practice example for "optimal climate-friendly bioenergy"


Use waste heat concepts and alternative fuels sensibly

Waste heat utilization in the broadest sense is an important component of a sustainable energy transition.

When burning coal, oil, gas for power generation, 30-60% heat loss occurs. When burning petrol and diesel, up to 80% of the heat is lost. Most industrial processes generate waste heat. Waste heat is also produced when biomass is used, for example in biogas production. The majority of all this waste heat has not yet been used. This also means that the majority of the raw materials used are not used particularly efficiently. The technical possibilities today are diverse, as are the areas of application for this waste heat, from heating rooms, to CHP, to direct raw material drying or "mobile heat". However, this often requires the decentralized use of waste heat. Holz von Hier is committed to any form of waste heat utilization in practice and public relations work, because this contributes significantly to more climate protection and resource efficiency as a system immanent.

Substitute fuels from residual and waste materials are a useful energy source.

Waste wood, used tyres, used fats, sewage sludge, sewage gas, paper waste, plastic waste/rejects, leftovers from agriculture and the food and animal feed industry,


Avoid competition for use as far as possible! With ...

(1) food/feed production, (2) material use and (3) natural ecosystems

More than 923 million people worldwide do not have access to sufficient food, and the trend is rising. The biomass used worldwide is mainly used as animal feed (58%), raw materials (20%), firewood (10%) and only 12% as food. One of the causes of rising food prices worldwide is this competition for use. Primary forests, wetlands, natural grasslands are among the ecosystems most threatened by land use change worldwide. Using these land areas for growing bioenergy crops (e.g. palm oil, sugar cane) is harmful to the climate and biodiversity. Burning logs that can be sawn, which could be used as material for long-lasting products, is not only negative from the point of view of climate protection. In some regions of Europe, there is already competition between energetic and material use. Holz von Hier is committed to the avoidance of competing uses and resource-saving use of wood, including cascade use.


Sustainable palm oil?

The production of 1 ton of palm oil generates 30 tons of CO2 [*]
[*] WGBU, 2009, German Advisory Council on Global Environmental Issues, Annual Report 2009).

Vegetable oils such as palm oil for biodiesel and CHP are ecologically questionable. Primary forest has usually been cleared beforehand for these plantations. Particularly large amounts of CO2 are released when forested moorland in Southeast Asia is cleared for palm oil plantations. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, primarily palm oil, soybean and rapeseed. However, it is mostly not domestic raw materials from rapeseed etc. that are processed in bulk, but mainly palm oil from Asia (e.g. Malaysia and Indonesia) and South and Central America (e.g. Mexico). Most of the vegetable oils for German and European CHPs come from imports. The production of 1 ton of palm oil generates about 30 tons of CO2 (quotes above). The WGBU writes: ... first-generation biofuels are very unfavorable for climate protection ... and have ... low efficiency. ... In the long term, relying on biofuels with raw materials such as palm oil or sugar cane remains economically and ecologically rather unfavorable”. And also ethically questionable (competition with food areas in Asia, Africa, Latin America) as aid organizations such as Misereor, Caritas and others are increasingly warning.


Bioethanol = climate protection? The origin of the raw materials counts

Biofuels often have similar transport routes as fossil fuels in their production path

It is becoming increasingly important to realistically balance the climate protection contribution, with all the associated real transports for each delivery and not simply calculate with standard data sets. Any green washing of bioethanol from imports into the European Union damages the image of biomass in general, including domestic biomass. 

Bioethanol production for fuel has multiplied since 2000. The largest bioethanol producers Brazil and USA together cover 90% of the market. In the USA, bioethanol is mainly obtained from corn, in Brazil from
Sugar cane, in Europe from sugar beet and wheat. Bioethanol is primarily used as a fuel and is added to 5-10% petrol. But it is also used in industry and the pleasure sector. The capacities of the EU do not meet the demand. That is why the EU encourages imports. However, these in turn endanger EU production itself, because domestic rapeseed, maize, etc. in bioethanol production are often not competitive with imports.


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