First plenary session
“Biomass technological progress towards decarbonised energy systems” 
Tuesday 28 May | 10:15 – 12:30

The theme of the 27th EUBCE in May 2019 in Lisbon is the role of biomass in delivering the Paris targets and sustainable development goals. This is indeed a broad and at the same time a very specific and demanding challenge. Over the years the EUBCE and evolved from a focus on the science behind biomass utilization to the wide scope of biomass science and its use in technologies to provide vital contributions to mitigate climate change. This means the sustainable use of biomass not only for energy but for supply of the widest possible range of fuels for transport, and chemicals and materials for industrial and domestic applications. It means building on a growing modern bioeconomy, always with the aim of reducing fossil greenhouse gas emissions in the most optimum manner and always in a complementary way with other renewable sources.

Utilisation of biomass presents good opportunities to deliver a number of social, environmental and economic benefits in addition to climate and energy goals. For example, bioenergy is playing an increasingly important role in the energy system, both in directly replacing fossil energy and in permitting greater proportions of variable renewables from solar and wind through grid balancing.  While these actions are already making progress in many countries, this conference aims to expand its geographical scope, to reflect the biomass contribution in various regions of the world, including Africa and Latin America.

The EUBCE programme in Lisbon will be addressing five topics covering
(1) biomass resources
(2) biomass conversion technologies for heating, cooling and electricity
(3) biomass conversion technologies for energy carriers, chemicals and materials
(4) biomass sustainability, impacts and policies
(5) biomass integration in energy systems.

Each of these topics will be addressed from both scientific and industrial application perspectives within the conference programme ( Along with these core topics plenary sessions will provide overviews of key areas and provide additional opportunities to learn more of the role of biomass in delivering the sustainable development goals.

The first plenary sessions is “Biomass technological progress towards decarbonised energy systems” which covers five subjects, (1BP.1.1) recent developments and future prospects for biomass combustion from small to large scale from Bios Bioenergiesysteme in Austria which has carried out research and development on biomass combustion systems over many years and is ideally placed to assess the current status of technologies; (1BP.1.2) an overview of biogas and biomethane: flexibility and integration from a long-standing Swiss expert who will look at the wide ranging established and developing biogas technologies and the more recent rapid growth of biomethane production; (1BP.1.3) an overview of biomass gasification for energy and products from a Netherlands expert who will include the achievements over the last years leading to the present day and opportunities for the future; (1BP.1.4) from an Italian expert the achievements of slow pyrolysis for biochar production and carbon sequestration, a topic that has become increasingly important in not only reducing emissions but which can lead to important improvements soil quality; and (1BP.1.5) an overview from the CEA in France on coupling electricity and biomass to biofuels systems to increase performances in mobility which demonstrates the more recent achievements and the advantages of using biomass in an integrated manner for the reduction of transport emissions.

The second main plenary session will be “Biomass industry perspectives to meet sustainable development and climate goals”. These industry perspectives will cover, (1CP.1.1) policies and strategies to deploy bioenergy in the energy transition presented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and describing the various approaches that have been developed and that are currently being supported mainly by governments and the achievements already seen, or expected; (1CP.1.2) the sustainable development of innovative technologies as experienced by a German technology developer and user, Clariant, involved in biofuels and bioproducts; (1CP.1.3) from SkyNRG in the Netherlands, sustainable aviation fuels, contribution to the RED II targets which follows on from the airline sector’s own initiatives on emissions reductions and mainly involves the replacement of aviation kerosene with liquid biofuels; and (1CP1.4) from the US Department of Energy in collaboration with IEA Bioenergy, the IEA Bioenergy vision towards a well below 2 degree world, which is based on IEA evaluation of the contribution of biomass to reducing fossil emissions, in particular approaches needed to stay within 2 degree centigrade above pre-industrial levels. Following the plenary presentations there will be a moderated panel discussion to give the opportunity for invited experts and conference delegates to question the presenters and to highlight elements of possible strategies and opportunities for the biomass community to deliver the Paris targets and sustainable development goals.

David Baxter
Former European Commission
Joint Research Centre