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Air Emissions

Air Emissions


In the framework of the Clean Air Programme (2013), the European Commission has established a series of measures to improve EU’s air quality. Some measures should be taken at national level (NEC Directive) and some measures are taken at EU level (limitation of emissions through the ecodesign regulations, Medium Combustion Plants Directive and Industrial Emissions Directive).

The role of bioenergy

At national level, the new National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive) entered into force on 31 December 2016. It sets 2020 and 2030 emission reduction commitments for five main air pollutants. It also ensures that the emission ceilings for 2010 set in the earlier directive remain applicable for Member States until the end of 2019. While the European Commission sets maximum emissions levels, Member States are free to take the appropriate measures best fitting their local circumstances.

At EU level, three directives are directly limiting emissions from bioenergy installations.

  • Small scale installations are regulated with the ecodesign directives.
  • Medium-scale installations in the range of 1-50 MW. The Medium Combustion Plant Directive regulates emissions of SO2, NOx and dust into the air with the aim of reducing those emissions and the risks to human health and the environment they may cause. It also lays down rules to monitor emissions of carbon monoxide (CO).

The emission limit values set in the MCP Directive will have to be applied from 20 December 2018 for new plants and by 2025 or 2030 for existing plants, depending on their size. There is some flexibility for biomass installations.

  • Large-scale installations above 50 MW. Chapter III (with Annex V) of the Industrial Emission Directive sets out special provisions for certain pollutant emissions from combustion plants with a total rated thermal input equal to or greater than 50 MW, irrespective of the type of fuel used. Limit values must be based on the Best Available Techniques (BAT) summarized in a BAT Reference Document (BREFs).

Our position

In order to improve EU’s air quality, it is important that Member States fully implement the set of existing legislations. The bioenergy industry is committed to provide and use efficient technologies largely complying with emissions requirements. Member States should be incentivized to replace old and inefficient installations with modern highly efficient bioenergy installations.