Developing a local bioenergy market can provide significant opportunities for rural and remote areas, by improving security of energy supply, contributing to a reduction in CO2 emissions and stimulating the local economy by creating jobs and keeping payments for energy within the local community.
A new project, BioPAD (Bioenergy Proliferation and Deployment), which targets the Northern Periphery of Europe, aims to ensure that bioenergy becomes more widely used and that awareness of the opportunities it provides are increased. The project will help the development of bioenergy and improve our understanding of the links between supply and demand by looking at supply chains for a variety of bioenergy fuels and different ways of converting these fuels into sustainable energy. Understanding the supply chains and the ways bioenergy moves from fuel source to energy provision will help the establishment of robust and efficient supply services which can match local demand.
BioPAD is led by the Western Development Commission www.wdc.ie (Ireland) and is funded under the ERDF Interreg IVB Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) http://www.northernperiphery.eu . It has partners in Scotland (Environmental Research Institute, UHI http://www.eri.ac.uk/ http://www.actionrenewables.org/ ), Northern Ireland (Action Renewables) and Finland (Finnish Forest Research Institute, METLA) http://www.metla.fi/ .
While some areas of northern Europe have well-developed biomass supply chains, others face significant challenges in developing cost-effective and sustainable supply chains to better exploit their biomass resources. The project aims to gain a better understanding of the current status of regional biomass supply chains for a range of biomass types including wood products, energy crops, marine macroalgae and agricultural wastes.
The analysis of regional supply chains will help develop tools which enable users to source and use locally available biomass, across a range of appropriate technologies (anaerobic digestion, combustion, or micro combined heat and power (CHP)). In addition, supply chain mapping work, undertaken as part of the project, will inform policy frameworks and interventions to support renewable energy deployment in the NPP.
A bioenergy tool, which highlights key steps along the supply chain for each fuel type or conversion method, will be made available in a variety of formats (e.g. web, mobile and app). The promotion of this information system and tool is an important element of the project and there will be a focus on making it accessible throughout the project region.
This development of local renewable bioenergy supply chains will provide sustainable enterprise opportunities for individuals, communities and municipalities in northern Europe. Along with the four partners, the €0.7 million two year project includes 11 associate partners, with experience throughout the supply chain, representing five northern European countries.