Sustainable biomass availability in the EU towards 2050 (RED II Annex IX, Parts A and B) (Concawe Review 30.2)

18 Jan 2022

Within the framework of the European Commission’s long-term strategy, Concawe’s cross-sectoral Low Carbon Pathways project identifies opportunities and challenges for different low-carbon technologies and feedstocks, and their potential to achieve a significant reduction of the CO2 emissions associated with both the manufacturing and use of refined products in Europe in the medium (2030) and longer-term (2050). Accessibility to sustainable low-carbon biofeedstock is one of the key drivers to achieve a low-carbon EU economy by 2050.

In this context, one of the key questions regarding the role of biofeedstocks in the transport sector is the potential availability of sustainable biomass (included in Annex IX, Parts A and B of RED II1) in the EU and UK, and under which conditions and assumptions biomass availability can be improved and biomass potential maximised safely and sustainably by 2050 without any negative impacts (e.g. by preserving natural high-value areas, maintaining and improving biodiversity, and reducing the use of arable land as well as the use of fertilisers and other chemical inputs).

This article summarises a study undertaken by Imperial College Consultants at the request of Concawe, the results of which have been published in a report entitled Sustainable biomass availability in the EU, to 2050. The work presented in the report covers only domestic (EU-27 + UK) feedstocks of agricultural, forest and waste origin included in Annex IX of RED II (Parts A and B as shown in Table 1) and imports to the EU. A short overview of the potential for imports to the EU and the potential algae availability, based on other studies, is included as an annex in the Imperial College report.

The biomass feedstocks included in Annex IX (Parts A and B) which have been considered in the Imperial College study are presented in Table 1 on page 5.2 Food and feed crops, and other sustainable feedstocks accepted by RED II but not included in Annex IX, are not included in the scope of this study.