One component in Vattenfall's CO2 neutral energy mix is biomass.
As a renewable energy source, biomass releases only as much CO2 when it is burned as it has bound during the growth phase. In addition to biogas and biomethane, the term biomass generally also includes forest residues from forestry, by-products from the wood processing industry such as sawdust and untreated wood residues and yields from short rotation plantations.
Sustainable biomass worldwide
Vattenfall is one of the largest European stakeholders in the global markets for sustainable bioenergy, trades a wide range of sustainable biomass products every year and has been one of the most active on the global biomass market. With a focus on sustainability, quality and flexibility throughout our supply chain, we offer a range of tailored biomass supply solutions.
Vattenfall offers internationally standardised products such as wood pellets and wood chips. We also trade in financial biomass instruments such as OTC Argus Wood Pellet Swaps and Wood Pellet Futures, which are listed on the European Energy Exchange (EEX). In order to ensure that biomass for energy leads to a meaningful CO2 reduction, cultivation, production and transport must be controlled and sustainable. Vattenfall Energy Trading is certified by SBP, FSC ®, PEFC and ENplus®.
As a founding member of the SBP (Sustainable Biomass Program), Vattenfall Energy Trading was involved in the development of global sustainability standards for biomass.
At Vattenfall we also conduct biomass supply and trading activities. The focus is on internationally traded standardised products as pellets (both, industrial and residential) and wood chips, originating from Europe, the US and Canada. Over 15 of Vattenfall's plants are powered entirely or partially by biomass. They are located in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.
In cooperation with farmers from Brandenburg and the western part of Poland, the Vattenfall subsidiary Energy Crops GmbH operates energy wood plantations – also called short-rotation coppice (SRC) – with fast-growing tree species, mostly poplars and some willow. The trees are planted for a period of up to 20 years and can be harvested every two to four years.
Biomass is a renewable energy source and can be anything from energy crops to agricultural or forestry residues and biogenic waste. To ensure that the use of biomass for energy leads to meaningful CO2 reduction, cultivation and production must be carried out in a controlled, sustainable manner. The cultivation of biomass can impact biodiversity, carbon stocks, soil and air quality. The cultivation can also have social impacts around areas such as land rights issues, working conditions and through potential competition with the use of biomass by local communities in developing countries. Vattenfall continuously monitors our biomass sourcing to ensure the biomass we use is environmentally and socially sustainable.
Vattenfall is a founding member of the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP), established in 2013. SBP is a certification system designed for woody biomass, mostly in form of wood pellets and wood chips, used in large thermal power plants. The objective of SBP was to develop and maintain an industry standard to ensure that solid biomass used for energy production complies with regulations on sustainability and biomass legality in EU countries.
Formed as an industry-led initiative of energy utilities that use biomass, SBP is now moving towards a real multi-stakeholder structure. The new governance arrangements bring together stakeholder groups representing civil society interests, biomass producer interests and those of biomass end-users.
The initiative's vision is an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable solid biomass supply chain that contributes to a low carbon economy.
Learn more about the Sustainable Biomass Program.