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Bioenergy Europe launches Switch4Air biomass heat awareness campaign

As outside temperatures begin to drop, the European biomass industry trade body Bioenergy Europe has announced the launch of the Switch4Air campaign that aims at raising awareness of bioenergy’s role in supporting the heating sector’s transition towards carbon neutrality and ultimately, the improvement of air quality in Europe.

Smoke from forest fires is one source that has adverse impacts on air quality, such as in Melbourne, Australia during the 2019/2020 bushfire season. In Europe, the heating sector has a large bearing on air quality and decarbonisation given that in 2018, 79 percent of the energy used in heating came from fossil sources. Switch4Air, a newly launched campaign by Bioenergy Europe in collaboration with the European Pellet Council (EPC) aims to raise awareness of bioenergy’s role in supporting the heating sector’s transition towards carbon neutrality and ultimately, the improvement of air quality in Europe as it enters into the 2020/2021 heating season.

The Switch4Air campaign is powered by Bioenergy Europe in collaboration with the European Pellet Council (EPC) and relayed across Europe by both national and international partners. It supports the view that bioenergy is central in propelling the heating sector towards carbon neutrality and ensuring better air quality for Europe.

The heating sector has a large bearing on air quality and decarbonisation in Europe. According to Bioenergy Europe, 79 percent of the energy used in the heat and cooling sector in 2018 came from fossil sources. Therefore, it is essential to cover this heat demand with carbon neutral and clean energy sources.

Extensive fossil fuel dependency within the sector, accompanied by outdated and neglected heating stock that is largely reliant on old and inefficient equipment – is according to Bioenergy Europe, behind accounts for the challenges associated with its delayed transition towards carbon-neutrality.

Our industry is in the driving seat to direct Europe’s heating demand towards increased carbon-neutrality, but equally to decrease pollutants from residential heating, substituting fossil fuels and old wooden installations with modern biomass heating, said Jean-Marc Jossart, Secretary-General of Bioenergy Europe.

Modern bioenergy offers a solution

Many different sources are behind poor air quality across Europe of which heating is one. Reducing emissions from the heating sector – a seemingly arduous task – must remain central to the energy transition Bioenergy Europe says.

While old and inefficient individual stoves and open fireplaces certainly contribute to the problem, new technologies and the use of district heating networks offer a solution.

Not only do they provide consumers with clean and efficient options, but they propel Europe towards a new, carbon-neutral energy era.

Modern bioenergy technologies can provide efficient, renewable, and cost-competitive heating solutions at a small or large scale – in dedicated plants and combined heat and power (CHP) as part of district heating systems – for residential and industrial uses.

With the European Green Deal instating heating as a priority in the fight against climate change, the renewable energy sector – particularly bioenergy – offers a means through which carbon neutrality and air pollution can be addressed.

There are enormous misconceptions about our sector and the role it will play in the EU’s energy mix. Bioenergy offers a viable and readily available solution that both reduces air pollution and supports EU climate targets, said Jean-Marc Jossart.

Promoting the deployment of highly efficient and modern bioenergy domestic appliances, as well as supporting the replacement of older models and ensuring correct maintenance and installation, are key to the abatement of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) emissions

We call for political action that fosters the technological development and deployment of carbon-neutral, low emissions appliances. We urge for coherent financial measures and investments that trigger the transition. Moreover, we wish to inform end-users of their role they must play by raising awareness of simple yet effective tips that they can take to reduce emissions from their domestic heating appliances, said Jean-Marc Jossart.

About Switch4Air

The Switch4Air campaign will launch in 2020 with the aim of raising awareness of how the bioenergy sector can contribute to the improvement of air quality in Europe. With the winter season approaching, there is a risk of an increased concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) emissions, largely a result of greater demand for household heating.

The campaign will focus on the role of bioheat in helping to reduce air pollution in Europe, alongside the modernisation of the heating stock, consumer behaviour, and the overall positive impact that carbon-neutral, bioenergy technologies can have on air quality.

Switch4Air is a call for political action, to foster the technological development of low emissions appliances, and to reduce emissions from end-users. It aims to reach policymakers, raising awareness of the complexities surrounding air quality in Europe, but equally to recognise the importance of collaboration, as policymakers and industry work alongside installers and consumers.

The campaign’s website will provide a central location for an overview of European Policies on Air Quality, data on the heating sector, and a mapping of national and regional initiatives working to improve air quality in European localities.

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