Renewable Matter # 3 / April

Europe Desperately Seeking Biomass

by Mario Bonaccorso

Adequate volumes of biomass, a reliable supply chain and free trade are the three pillars for the development of the bioeconomy, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published last February and entirely devoted to the European Union (EU Bio-Based Economy and Its Inputs). The relationship is simple: if the supply of biomass is limited, the price of raw materials will rise, thus affecting the sector’s viability. For this reason – as the Americans claim – although being able to convert biomass where it is produced would be beneficial, logistical hubs able to guarantee sufficient availability of raw materials from alternative sources, the presence of other processing industries and easy access to end markets are paramount. Obviously, Washington is interested in the opening of the European market to imports of biomass from the other side of the Atlantic. 

The availability of biomass is the bioeconomy’s lifeblood. Being able to predict flows becomes strategic for government and the industrial sector. Lately there has been a proliferation of analyses attempting to estimate how supply and demand will be modified over the years. According to a study by the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands), if by 2020 20%...

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