Using biomass for energy is an important part of the renewable energy mix. However, bioenergy production should follow EU resource efficiency principles, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). This means extracting more energy from the same material input, and avoiding negative environmental effects potentially caused by bioenergy production.
The report, ‘EU bioenergy from a resource efficiency perspective’,  primarily looks at the potential for energy from agricultural land, although it includes forest and waste biomass in the overall analysis. Bioenergy should be produced in line with EU objectives to use resources more efficiently,  the EEA report says. This means reducing the land and other resources needed to produce each unit of bioenergy and avoiding environmental harm from bioenergy production. According to the EEA analysis, the most efficient energy use of biomass is for heating and electricity as well as advanced biofuels, also called ‘second generation’ biofuels. First generation transport biofuels, for example, biodiesel based on oilseed rape or ethanol from wheat, are shown to be a far less efficient use of resources.
Download the report here: http://www.eea.europa.eu/pressroom/newsreleases/bioenergy-production-must-use-resources