Biomass for heat


Looking more into the details of the bioheat sector, the residential segment leads with about half of the bioheat consumption (51%). This sector is quite heterogeneous. All new installations put on the market today have to comply with the EU Ecodesign legislation, setting minimun emissions and energy efficiency requirements.  However, a challenge remains in the existing stock of old installations like open fire places which need to be replaced in order to improve air emissions and energy efficiency. The residential sector is the predominant sector for bioheat consumption in all the countries except Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and Slovakia where the share is lower than 40%.

Industrial and derived heat (mostly being district heating) sectors follow in the ranking of bioheat generators respectivelly with 26% and 15%. The consumption of bioheat in the industry sector has a high importance in countries such as Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and Slovakia. The countries with the biggest share of bioheat consumption through district heating are Denmark, Lithuania and Sweden with more than 30%. On the contrary, bioheat district heating are few in Ireland and Mediterranean countries like Spain, Greece and Portugal.


The service sector (schools, hospitals, hotels) also have great potential for development, representing only 5% of the gross final consumption in 2015. The use of bioheat in the service sector is rather limited in most countries. Only Germany, Cyprus and Malta present more than 20% share. All these sub-sectors are directly concerned with the ongoing discussion on future EU sustainability criteria for biomass and could be highly impacted depending on the final decision in particular on which installations will have to comply with these criteria. Indeed the bioheat sector mostly consist in small and mid-scale installations.


The distribution of top 5 countries for bioheat consumption is similar to the top 5 countries for bioenergy consumption. This is rather understandable as bioheat represents around ¾ of the total bioenergy consumption. Germany is the leading country with 15% followed by France with 12% and Sweden with 10%.


Solid biomass is by far (91%) the first source of fuel used for bioheat, most of it being woody biomass. Both for environmental and economic reasons, this is mostly sourced from by-products of forest management operations and the wood industry, such as sawmills. Alternative feedstocks, such as ligno-cellulosic energy crops can complement demand while providing additional benefits (soil erosion prevention, flood protection etc..). This is why AEBIOM advocates for better recognition of agricultural biomass and ligno-cellulosic energy crops within the future common agricultural policy. The remaining 9% is sourced from municipal waste and biogas generation, accounting for 8% combined. 1% is generated thanks to liquid biofuels and biochar.

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All statistics featured in this section come from Bioenergy Europe's  Statistical Report. If you want more insight do not hesitate to download the 'Key Findings' of the report (free of charge) and order a copy of the full report (consult the table of content of the 2017 Edition).

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First published in 2007, Bioenergy Europe Statistical Report – European Bioenergy Outlook, has sought to provide European stakeholders with a comprehensive overview of the latest market trends in bio-heat, bio-electricity and bio-fuel sectors. The Full Report (200+ pages) gathers statistics, infographics and the most up-to-date data on the developments of the European bioenergy industry. The report is an important tool for the industry and for investors and policy makers to make informed evaluations and decisions. For more information, visit:

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