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Bioenergy sector – towards a carbon-negative future
Approximately 90% of Finland’s bioenergy is renewable wood energy that originates in forestry and forest industry side streams. The bioenergy industry has linkages to the energy, forest, technology and transport sectors where it creates added value from biomass without compromising the forest carbon stocks. Sustainability of bioenergy is verified through specific criteria based on EU renewable energy directive. Production of bioenergy in Finland may increase 10 – 20 % by 2030 compared to 2019, industry foresees.
Current and target state
Bioenergy is a largely domestic renewable energy source, which makes it a natural substitute for fossil energy. Currently bioenergy contributes to adjustable and energy efficient energy production e.g. through bio-based heat generation and cogeneration from side streams. If bio-based side streams were not commercially used, but instead left in the woods, new long-term emission sources would be created.
According to the industry, the use of bioenergy will increase in the 2020s, as coal is banned, the use of peat for energy is drastically reduced, and biogas and liquid biofuels become more widely used. Agricultural biomass holds significant additional potential compared to existing use. However, there are restrictions to how fast the share of biomass can grow. According to the industry, the use of bioenergy should be increased in a controlled fashion, for example by 10–20 per cent by 2030 compared to 2019.
In the future, side stream biomasses can be used to make electricity, heat, and also fuels.
Major means for sustainably replacing fossil energy with biomass are side streams and recycled wood from the forest and the forest industry, transport biofuels and biogas. In the future, cogeneration of electricity and heat could also include a parallel fuel production and hybrid systems e.g. coupled with solar heat. Furthermore, the use of biomass with carbon capture technology is identified as an emerging opportunity to create low carbon products and even a carbon negative energy system.
Needs and requirements
To ensure the availability of wood energy, it is important to sustain competitive economic operating conditions for the forest and sawmill industry. In order to leverage the potential of agricultural biomass, increased cultivation of energy crops and short-rotation ligneous plants will require support programmes. Similarly, technologies for carbon dioxide removal require incentives.
Future and positive impacts
The Finnish bioindustry continues to grow its handprint impact and enable global emission reduction by exporting innovations such as bio-boilers and renewable transport fuels.
Did you know that...?
• Finland is both a significant bioenergy user and bioenergy technology provider
• Bioenergy covers 30% of total energy consumption and close to 80% of the total production of the renewable energy sector in Finland.
• There is no industrial-scale logging purely for bioenergy in Finland.