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Día de la Bioenergía en España – el país que cuenta con un gran potenciala

Bioenergy is Europe's leading renewable energy source. According to Eurostat data and calculations made by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), bioenergy will be able to supply 11% of the final energy consumption in 2017. An additional 7% comes from the other renewables, while the rest (82%) still comes from fossil fuels. Within this context, for 66 days the EU can run on renewable energies, 41 days of which are supplied by bioenergy—from November 21 to the end of the year.

For Spain, its Bioenergy Day is December 3, and like Belgium, its energy demand could be met exclusively with biomass for 28 days.

Spain is self-sufficient thanks to biomass for 28 days this year, a fact that places our country in the 23rd position in the European ranking (together with Belgium), far from Sweden, with 132 days. The values that being self-sufficient for 28 days also means being an energy independent country for almost a month, because it is an own renewable energy source and not dependent on the importation of oil or gas, remarked Javier Díaz, President of Asociación Española de Valorizacion Energetica de la Biomasa (AVEBIOM).

Developing the potential

In Spain, biomass is used mostly in residential heating and industries; and to a lesser extent, for the generation of electricity and biofuels. However, Spain’s ranking changes to 14th, about on par with the EU-28 average 2015, when it is the share of renewables in energy consumption. Furthermore, according to Díaz, the country has great potential and could readily advance its Bioenergy Day date to November 25 close to this year’s European average, if unused available biomass were utilised.

Only using what is currently burned in the open or not used in field stubble, olive and fruit tree prunings, viticulture, forest fire protection cleaning (undergrowth, logging residues) could reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and reduce energy dependence further.

Prunings from Spanish vineyards represent an untapped biomass potential.

According to the EU LIFE project Enerbiocrub project and data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAPAMA), it would be possible to use almost 516,000 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) of biomass from sustainably managed forest thickets each year, equivalent to 1.2 million tonnes of bone-dry biomass.

In addition, on an annual basis, there is another 625 600 toe of olive pruning annually (≈ 1.46 million tonnes dry basis) and 290 200 toe (≈ 675 000 tonnes dry basis) of vine shoots for energy use, according to the data of the EU Horizon 2020 funded Biomasud Plus project.

Furthermore, additional sources such as the EU 7th Framework Programme (FP7) projects EuroPruning and S2Biom suggest that fruit orchard prunings (sweet, dry and citrus) can add up to 500 000 toe (≈ 1.3 million tonnes on a dry basis).

“These biomass quantities, which are generated each year in Spain, could be used for energy purposes and thus avoid emissions that are detrimental to the air quality caused by uncontrolled burning. These figures highlight the fundamental role played by biomass in the transition to renewable energy. Bioenergy is the most important source of renewable energy in Europe, which is close to surpassing coal to become the primary source of domestic energy,” said Javier Díaz, President of Asociación Española de Valorizacion Energetica de la Biomasa, AVEBIOM (photo courtesy AVEBIOM).

Collection, logistics and aggregation remain a challenge though this is something being addressed in several of the mentioned projects as well as the recently launched EU Horizon 2020 project ARGOinLOG. And if this year’s Expobiomasa conference and exhibition in Vallodalid is anything to go by, Spain is set to move up the Bioenergy Day ranking ladder and, more importantly, increase the number of days it could run on biomass alone.

About European Bioenergy Day

The European Bioenergy Day campaign is powered by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM) and relayed across Europe by both national and international partners supporting the belief that bioenergy is more than a renewable energy source, but a reliable path that will lead Europe to achieve its renewable energy transition in the shortest span of time.

The campaign will last 66 days, starting from November 21 through the end of the year. This is a symbolic date on which the European Bioenergy Day was celebrated by organizing the European Bioenergy Future Conference, that was held in Brussels, Belgium on that date.

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