Energy from Waste : EfW-demand for biomass is increasing in Europe

Wood export 2, Geminor, biomass
© Geminor

Biomass is a fraction of forest residues such as wood, bark, branches and other wood that cannot be used for products such as construction materials or pulp. Recently, the demand for this fraction has increased significantly, largely due to a general shortage of waste wood in the market.

Peter Roland, Biomass Fraction Manager at Geminor, who has more than 15 years of experience in the field, has noticed major changes in material flows in Europe. "The energy crisis in Europe has created a greater need for biofuels for energy recovery in the EfW-industry. As an increasing proportion of waste wood is being used for material recycling, and with the Russian and Belarusian timber markets closed, there is a growing demand for biomass fractions."

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In Europe, Geminor is now putting more resources into the biofuel fraction. The aim is to find forest residues that can be ground or processed into chips for energy recovery. In addition, the upstream market for wood treatment will be given more attention in cooperation with subsidiary Bøn Biobrensel, which carries out mobile grinding operations for biofuel and waste wood.

"The demand is particularly high in Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Sweden, where there is significant capacity for energy recovery in both district heating and electricity production. However, there are also opportunities for material recycling for this fraction, such as compost-based soil," says Roland.

"With expertise in waste management and international logistics, we can now contribute to finding new solutions for materials that were previously considered too challenging to utilize, such as sawmill bark," he adds.

Peter Roland Geminor
Peter Roland, Biomass Fraction Manager at Geminor - © Geminor

New bio certifications

In April, Geminor received Chain of Custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This enables the company to trade sustainable wood fractions in the European biomass market.

In addition, Geminor now has the Swedish "Hållbarhetsbeskjed" certification, an equivalent EU-based certification that guarantees the supply of sustainable wood in Sweden. Both certifications prevent the trade in materials from rainforests and are necessary to meet the demands of today's market.

The EU's RED II (Renewable Energy Directive) certification requirement, which industry players must comply with, regulates the way trade is conducted and aims to ensure efficient and sustainable recycling in the market.

"At present there are differing opinions on the combustion of wood in the EU. Our intention is to make a difference by utilizing wood that would normally go to waste. This also creates good synergies with our other activities within energy recovery," says Roland.

Although the main customers for biofuels are the same as for RDF, the handling and logistics require a different approach, says Peter Roland.

"This biomaterial does not have the same requirements for traceability and logistics as domestic waste does. Still, the wood must be handled correctly to guarantee the quality of the end product. Therefore, it will be important for us to secure more specialized expertise within the organization as we move forward," concludes Peter Roland, Biomass Fraction Manager at Geminor.