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New IEA report on transboundary flows of woody biomass waste in Europe

The International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy Task 36 and Task 40 have recently published a joint report on transboundary shipment flows of solid biomass waste, particularly wood waste – hazardous and non-hazardous – in the north-western part of Europe during 2010-2016. Non-hazardous wood waste is a rather cheap fuel in comparison to other solid biomass resources and is therefore used in some countries for bioenergy production on a significant scale.

Post-consumer, industrial and construction and demolition wood waste awaiting further processing at a recycling facility in Sweden.

Post-consumer, industrial and construction and demolition wood waste awaiting further processing at a recycling facility in Sweden. According to a recent IEA report, Germany and Sweden stand out as the main importers of both hazardous and non-hazardous wood waste in north-western Europe.

According to the report titled “Transboundary flows of woody biomass waste streams in Europe“, Germany and Sweden stand out as the main importers of both hazardous and non-hazardous wood waste with a combined annual import in excess of 1.3 million tonnes in 2016.

The Netherlands also imports non-hazardous wood waste from the UK and Belgium for the feedstock of its bioenergy plants. The main exporters of non-hazardous wood waste are the UK, the Netherlands, and Norway. The combined exports exceed 1.2 million tonnes in recent years. The major exporter for hazardous wood waste is the Netherlands with a yearly average of 100 000 tonnes to Germany.

According to the report, the key driver for both hazardous and non-hazardous wood waste utilization is legislation and policies, which differ between the countries investigated. The support provided by legislation and policies in a country can pave way for a better capacity to deal with hazardous as well as non-hazardous wood waste.

The trade of non-hazardous wood waste is mainly driven by the installed wood waste combustion capacity in importing countries, particularly in Germany and Sweden, as opposed to the lack of capacity in other (exporting) countries like the UK, Norway or the Netherlands.

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