CCC/230 ISBN 978-92-9029-550-1

December 2013

copyright © IEA Clean Coal Centre


There are many items to include when considering the sustainability of biomass for cofiring, and some

of them are hard to quantify. The focus of this report is on the greenhouse gas emission aspects of

sustainability. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions achieved by substituting biomass for coal

depends on a number of factors such as the nature of the fossil fuel reference system, the source of the

biomass, and how it is produced. Relevant issues in biomass production include the energy balance,

the greenhouse gas balance, land use change, non-CO2 greenhouse gas emission from soils, changes

to soil organic carbon, and the timing of emissions and removal of CO2 which relates to the scale of

biomass production. Certification of sustainable biomass is slow to emerge at the national and

international level, so various organisations are developing and using their own standards for

sustainable production. The EU does not yet have sustainability standards for solid biomass, but the

UK and Belgium have developed their own.

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