The JRC’s Institute for Energy and Transport provides scientific support to European policy makers on the complex issues surrounding the use of biomass, particularly with respect to both the environmental and economically sustainable exploitation of biomass along the entire value chain from production, conversion to bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts, to the market place.
The National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPS) prepared by European Union member states within the frame of the Renewable Energy directive (2009/28/EC) demonstrate that bioenergy continues to play a dominant role in the EU’s renewable energy mix. Bioenergy, including biofuels, will play a major role in reaching the renewable energy target set for 2020.
The JRC’s scientific research on biomass, bioenergy and biofuels, which also extends to biorefinery concepts, aims to provide a sound basis for addressing the most relevant and sensitive policy questions in a thorough and independent manner. The challenges including both environmental and economic sustainability are addresses by way of technology and life cycle assessments using system boundaries encompassing the value chain from biomass production to final market products. Environmental impacts include not only greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but also other life cycle impacts and effects caused by land-use changes.
Moreover, bioenergy and biofuels are no longer considered in isolation but within the wider bioeconomy that is emerging to meet the demands of reducing overall GHG emissions and environmental impacts.