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Current trends indicate that biomass will continue to be an important

source of energy in Asia for the foreseeable future. This also applies
to ASEAN member countries, notwithstanding their dynamic
economic and social transitions. Government policies can support the
good use of biomass energy, including energy from wood.



FAO Regional Wood Energy Development Programme in Asia

in cooperation with the ASEAN-EC Energy Management Training Centre
and the EC-ASEAN COGEN Programme

Biomass is an important source of energy in ASEAN member countries and

its use is still increasing. In ASEAN, energy from biomass such as wood and
agricultural residues represents about 40% of total energy consumption – more
than 2.5 million Terajoules per year. The bulk is from woodfuels, with an esti-
mated value of US$ 7 billion per year. Main applications are in the domestic
sector and small-scale industries, but also increasingly in modern systems for
combined heat and power generation.

Managed properly, biomass energy (or bio-energy) can be sustainable, envi-

ronmentally benign and economically sound. Moreover, biomass energy cre-
ates substantial local employment. The advantages are also being recognised
in industrialised countries, and several governments have successfully
adopted articulate policies for promoting biomass energy.

Tropical countries enjoy favourable conditions for growing biomass. However,

constraints to optimal use as an energy source are still to be resolved. Main
issues are legal and institutional barriers, as well as lack of information and
technology transfer. Furthermore, common misconceptions about biomass en-
ergy have to be redressed. It should be emphasised that the larger part of
woodfuels come from non-forest land; woodfuel use is not the root cause of
deforestation; biomass energy is more than a traditional commodity; and
biomass energy will not phase out in the foreseeable future.

At present, AEEMTRC, COGEN and RWEDP cooperate in order to integrate

information on biomass in energy data bases and assist in the development of
sustainable energy policies.

It is recommended that energy policy makers in ASEAN member countries

acknowledge the important role of biomass energy and its future potential.
This will mean biomass energy can be integrated in overall energy policy
making and planning. In particular the potential of modern applications for
power generation should be given serious consideration as a way of ensuring
optimal utilisation of each country’s biomass resources.

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The use of conventional energy like oil, coal leads to the misconception that it is being
and electricity has increased enormously in substituted by modern energy and is phas-
the last 25 years in ASEAN economies. Dur- ing out. In reality, conventional energy is
ing the 1980s, consumption more than dou- mostly used for new applications such as
bled, with an average annual growth rate of new industries, transport and household
7%. Less spectacular, and somewhat over- electricity, whereas wood and other biomass
shadowed by this conventional energy boom, continue to dominate in domestic activities
consumption of biomass energy has also in- such as cooking and in many traditional in-
creased substantially over the same period. dustries.
Biomass energy includes fuelwood, charcoal
and agriculture residues used as fuel. Only for Thailand, recent and regular na-
tional statistics on wood and other biomass
For the five ASEAN countries where energy consumption are available. Compar-
biomass is an important energy source (In- ing these with population data, it appears
donesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and that there is a strong correlation between
Vietnam), consumption increased on aver- population and biomass energy consumption
between 1985 and 1995
(0.99). By using popu-
lation forecasts, we can
predict an increase of
nearly 15% in biomass
energy consumption by
2010 over that in 1995.
As accurate data on
supply sources, both
from forest and non-
forest areas, are lack-
ing it is difficult to as-
sess if there will be
enough supply avail-
able to meet future de-

For the other four ma-

jor biomass-using
economies in ASEAN,
age 2% per year between 1985 and 1994, due similar or even higher trends of increase in
mainly to population growth. Consumption biomass energy consumption are forecast,
is highest in Indonesia, accounting for more considering their higher population growth
than half of the total consumption because and greater dependence on biomass energy
of the large population, while the rate of in- (except in Malaysia). Of course the above is
crease is highest in Malaysia and Vietnam. only a simple modelling exercise, but it high-
lights the need for more accurate, regular
Despite this growth, the share of biomass and detailed data on consumption and pro-
energy in total energy consumption has been duction of biomass energy and its sources in
decreasing for most countries, which often order to asses trends, to develop forecasts
and to formulate appropriate policies.
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Advantages Social

Economy In times of hardship, or when harvests are

inadequate for subsistence, the opportunity
Wood and other types of biomass are widely to generate income in woodfuel business pro-
used as fuels in the (private) domestic and vides a safety-net for the people affected.
industrial sectors, basically because they are
cheaper than other fuels. Local availability Efficiency
and reliability of supply add to the economic
advantages. Modern applications in both in- The application of biomass energy in mod-
dustrialised countries and in South-East ern technologies allows for increased energy
Asia have demonstrated that biomass en- efficiency by combined heat and power gen-
ergy can also be competitive for larger-scale eration (cogeneration). Applications of
industrial applications. For fuel-importing cogeneration in decentralised systems based
countries, the use of local biomass can save on locally available fuel resources help to fur-
substantial amounts of foreign exchange. ther reduce losses in the transmission and
The value of woodfuels currently being used distribution of power.
in ASEAN economies is equivalent to an es-
timated US$ 7 billion annually. Energy mix
Incorporation of biomass fuels in national
Environment energy supply policy improves the energy
mix by increasing the diversity of energy
The sustainable use of biomass energy sources. This helps to reduce vulnerability
sources helps to manage the local environ- to market fluctuations and can improve
ment. When wood and other biomass are stabilization of prices.
properly valued by local populations as an
important resource base, they are more Constraints
likely to be protected. Sustainable use of
biomass is also beneficial for the global cli- Misconceptions
mate, because it is carbon-neutral, whereas
It is sometimes assumed that biomass en-
substitution by fossil fuels would add to the
ergy is a traditional commodity which will
greenhouse effect. This is the main reason
phase out in the near future. Some people
why many industrialised countries have
even believe that woodfuel collection poses
embarked upon policies for increasing the
a major threat to tropical rainforests. Mis-
share of biomass in national energy con-
conceptions such as these hamper the de-
velopment of sound energy policies.
Rural income
Data and planning
The use of wood and some other forms of
Systematic data are still inadequate or una-
biomass energy generates at least 20 times
vailable for biomass energy planning and for
more local employment within the national
developing specific energy policies for sup-
economy than any other form of energy, per
ply and demand.
unit. A large amount of unskilled labour is
engaged in growing, harvesting, processing,
transporting and trading the fuels, which
generates off-farm income for rural Technologies for biomass combustion which
populations, either regularly or off-season. are at present widely used in ASEAN econo-
Policy makers in the European Union are mies still need to be improved towards best
increasingly coming to recognise the em- practice. Financial, institutional and legal
ployment benefits for their own countries. issues have to be resolved to make the best
use of available technologies.

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Biomass fuels making, food preparation and catering serv-

Biomass fuels consist of both woody and
non-woody biomass. The first come from The current situation is not expected to
trees and shrubs, the latter from crop change as long as the supply of biofuels is
residues and other vegetation. Both can be secure and their price remains competitive
converted into charcoal. In ASEAN econo- with commercial fuels like coal, gas and elec-
mies, important biomass fuels are wood and tricity. The consumption of biomass fuels
residues from coconut, rubber and oilpalm may even increase with growth in popula-
trees, as well as sawdust, bagasse and husks tion.
and straw from rice plants. They are used
in both traditional and modern applica- Bio-energy-using industrial and other com-
tions. mercial activities are mainly found in rural
areas, but also exist in townships and even
Utilisation of biomass fuels metropolitan cities like Bangkok, Jakarta
and Manila. Also, many households in large
Domestic urban centres use biomass fuels, in particu-
The domestic sector is the main user of lar charcoal. Densified biofuels (briquettes
biomass fuels, primarily for cooking and of charcoal fines and loose residues) are be-
space heating. The main user groups are coming more popular in urban centres where
farmers and villagers, but daily wage earn- different forms of woodfuels have already
ers, industrial workers and food vendors in been accepted as traded commodities. At
cities all use biomass fuels to some extent. present, many higher-income rural families,
Villagers also use biomass fuels to process urban households and industrial enterprises
agricultural products either for preserva- are purchasing biomass fuels, especially
tion or for conversion into tradable com- wood and charcoal, to meet their energy
modities. needs.

Industrial Modern applications

Numerous industries in ASEAN member More recently, modern bio-energy has de-
countries rely on biomass fuels for process veloped through adoption of technologies
heat and drying of the final product. Many like cogeneration (generation of heat and
are small-scale and based on traditional power in wood and agro-based industries)
technology. These industries usually pur- and dendrothermal power plants (genera-
chase the fuel, but some also collect biomass tion of electricity by burning woody
fuels from free supply sources. The indus- biomass). Cogeneration is gaining increas-
tries include: agricultural and food process- ing acceptance. Efficient, mature and proven
ing (like sugar, rubber and coconut process- biomass-based energy conversion technolo-
ing, rice parboiling, fish and meat drying gies are available both within and outside the
and smoking); metal processing and min- ASEAN region. Cogeneration of heat and
eral-based activities (e.g. brick making, lime power from residues in forest-based and agro-
burning, ceramics and pottery, smithing, industries is being increasingly promoted
foundry and jewellery); and forest products (particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phil-
and textile industries (e.g. bamboo and cane, ippines and Thailand) by the private sector,
distilleries, timber drying, match factories, mostly for own use. Utility companies in
silk and textiles). Besides these industrial Western countries already supply electricity
activities, services rely on biomass fuels and heat from biomass to national grids and
(e.g. road tarring, soap making, tyre re- local communities.
treading, paper making, fishing net and boat

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Sources of biomass energy vesting; as dead wood, fallen branches, twigs
and dead stumps at site; as by-products of
Wood wood-based industries (e.g. waste and scrap
The forest source is one of many sources of wood, sawdust); as surplus non-commercial
woodfuel production. It consists of govern- wood derived from land clearing; or as re-
ment-owned and managed natural forests covered wood from replacement or demoli-
and tree plantations. However, this is not tion of old structures and constructions (e.g.
the only or even the main source. The situa- wood from old poles, posts, buildings, scaf-
tion in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines folding). The latter are used mostly by the
and Thailand presents a typical scenario. In urban poor.
these countries, in recent years non-indus-
trial plantations of different types (e.g. co- Other biomass
conut, rubber and oilpalm plantations, fruit Agro residues like rice husk and straw, co-
orchards, and trees in homesteads and conut husk and shells, palmoil kernel shells
homegardens) have gained recognition as and fibre, and bagasse are the other main
important sources of woodfuel supply. These sources of biomass fuels. They are important
non-forest sources, managed and operated for both the domestic and the industrial sec-
mostly by the private sector as informal busi- tors. In Thailand, the energy balance shows
ness enterprises, are gaining prominence in that bagasse and rice husk accounted re-
supplying traded woodfuels to markets. spectively for 7.9% and 1.6% of all energy
used in the country in 1995. In Indonesia,
In the countries of South-East Asia, forest residues accounted for 7–8% in 1992, in Ma-
sources contribute between 10 and 50% of laysia 15–16% in 1990, and in the Philippines
total national woodfuel supplies, with the about 12% in 1989. These amounts are basi-
balance coming from non-forest sources. The cally consumed in the industrial sector
share of non-forest woodfuels in total house- (palmoil, coconut, sugar and rice milling).
hold-level consumption in Indonesia is re- Data for the domestic sector are often not
ported to be as high as 93%, and the share available, but evidence from limited surveys
in total woodfuel supply in the Philippines indicates that biomass in the form of
and Thailand as 85% and 50% respectively. residues plays an important role, in particu-
lar in areas where wood as a source of en-
Forest and non-forest sources produce ergy is in short supply.
woodfuels by the felling of trees which have
grown naturally, or trees which were raised People involved
on single or multi-purpose plantations (i.e.
as the main products of dedicated woodfuel In addition to the millions of users of
plantations or as by-products of non-indus- biomass fuels in ASEAN countries, numer-
trial plantations). Alternatively, woodfuels ous actors play specific roles in the supply
are obtained as lops and tops from forest har- and distribution of traded biomass fuels from

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their sources to final users (e.g. collectors
or gatherers, transporters, middlemen,
wholesalers and retailers). Woodfuel collec-
tion for self-use and for the market can be
an important occupation in rural areas. For
the better-off it may be part-time off-season
work, but for the poor it can very well be a
full-time occupation for livelihood. And for
yet others it may provide an opportunity for
self-employment in woodfuel-related busi-
ness to earn cash income and supplement
household income. Most fuelwood gatherers
live in villages close to the forests. They may
be poor with very small land holdings, or
landless labourers.

Estimated employment of woodfuel on the

basis of person-days involved in production
of one terajoule (TJ) of energy, compared to
other commercial fuel alternatives, shows
just 10 person-days per TJ for kerosene, com-
pared to 200 to 350 person days for charcoal,
depending upon productivity of site, effi-
ciency of producers and the distance to the tally sensitive sites. Also, woodfuel is a car-
market. bon-neutral energy source (that is, the CO2
released by its burning is matched by the
For instance, over 830,000 households were amount used up in its production), provided
employed in woodfuel-related activities in the rate of harvest of the wood is equal to
the Philippines in 1992 (536,000 in gather- the rate of re-growth, so it need not contrib-
ing, 158,000 in charcoal making and selling, ute to the greenhouse effect. With present
and 40,000 rural and 100,000 urban traders). improvements in wood combustion technolo-
It was the main source of income for about gies, other emissions like carbon monoxide
10% of rural households, supplying about (CO), polycyclo-aromoatic-hydrocarbons
40% of their cash earnings. (PACs), nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulate
matter can also be significantly reduced.

Considering the important contribution from

non-forest production sources, it has been
concluded that in most areas sustainable
production of wood for energy can be viable.
The present supply-demand imbalances may
not be as serious as has been projected for
most countries. It is also observed that, ex-
cept in some highly populated forest deficit
areas, the use of woodfuel by a majority of
rural households is not the root cause of de-
forestation. In the present context of warn-
ings against deforestation and growing con-
Environment cerns about biodiversity and environmental
conservation, the role of government-raised
If the supply source is properly managed, plantations as newly emerging additional
woodfuel can contribute positively to both sources of woodfuel becomes more promi-
the local and the global environment. Deg- nent as far as traded woodfuel is concerned.
radation of watershed and catchment areas
occurs only when woodfuel is extracted in
an unsustainable manner from environmen-

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Biomass resources, particularly residues from • The low income level of the majority of ru-
forests, wood processing, agricultural crops ral woodfuel users can not support high
and agro-processing, are under-utilised in investments in modern biomass-based en-
ASEAN countries. These resources are renew- ergy generation. Governments should
able, environmentally friendly in energy pro- come in with financial schemes.
duction, and sustainable in terms of supply.
Some of these residues are already used as
raw materials for other products (such as • Biomass has a lower calorific value than
particle board and fibreboard), as fodder and fossil fuels. Densification (briquetting) of
fertilizer, or as household and industrial biomass residues increases accessibility
fuels. However, large portions are still un- but involves a cost, which may be out of
used and represent potential sources of en- reach of those present users who get their
ergy. Energy generation technologies spe- biomass fuels free. Detailed study of the
cifically designed to use biomass residues local fuel market and careful selection of
are available and are becoming more and technology should precede major invest-
more economical. ments in biomass energy development.

Countries have yet to make optimum use of • Prevailing practices of technology transfer
the additional power generation potential do not sufficiently take into account the lo-
from their biomass residue resources, which cal conditions under which imported tech-
could help them to partially overcome the nology has to be operated and managed, the
long-term problem of energy supply. How- training required for its use, maintenance
ever, in order to make the most of biomass requirements and capabilities, and
energy, various aspects must be taken into backstopping arrangements. Promoters
account: need to consider both hardware and soft-
ware aspects of technology transfer.
• Research and development for biomass
• There are several factors limiting the po- production and use on a commercial basis
tential for large-scale fast-growing has not yet received adequate attention
fuelwood plantations on a commercial in the region.
scale: international petroleum fuel prices,
remaining subsidies on commercial fuels, Institutional
large initial investment requirements for
woodfuel plantations, long gestation pe- • Governments’ policies relating to biomass
riod between planting and harvesting, energy development and the role of the
and conversion and transportation costs. private sector are not yet clearly defined.
This implies that the development of
woodfuel should focus on the by-products
of agroforestry and on the use of wood and
biomass residues from relevant process-
ing industries at their source.

• Biomass fuels are mostly used in the

household sector, primarily by the rural
and urban poor and middle-class people
in small towns. These people usually end
up paying more for their household energy
than their counterparts in larger urban
centres. Cost-benefit analyses should in-
corporate avoided costs.
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• Only limited opportunity exists for ex- bases with regard to prices, competing
change of information and sharing of expe- uses, cost of biomass energy in relation to
riences with regard to the use of modern alternatives, energy market, size, and sup-
biomass energy technologies amongst im- ply sources.
plementing organisations within ASEAN.
It is important to facilitate transfer of know- • Data bases should be accessible to agen-
how within the region. It may be desirable cies willing to finance, implement, moni-
to develop and institutionalise a system for tor or use biomass energy. Exchange of in-
facilitating information sharing and tech- formation between countries in the region
nology transfer within the region. can be promoted by networking and
through collaboration with regional and
international agencies.

• No dedicated system exists for informa-

tion flow on research and development in
biomass energy. This needs to be estab-
lished and regularly upgraded.

• Most policies and legislation today are not
conducive to biomass energy development,
e.g. sectoral policies and legislation govern-
ing private trees in non-forest lands, includ-
ing planting, harvesting, utilisation, trans-
port of tree and wood products, tree and
land ownership and tenure systems.

• Some countries’ policies use subsidies to

promote the use of commercial fuels, in-
stead of developing the sources and sup-
ply of biomass energy, which could con-
tribute positively to the balance of trade.

• Present misconceptions about use of

biomass fuel being the root cause of de-
forestation and environmental degrada-
tion do not provide a conducive atmos-
• Government support with regard to the phere for bio-energy development. Appro-
increased use of residues is often inad- priate legislation which regulates only
equate and at times conflicting. This may indiscriminate biomass use needs to be
result in implementing agencies being promoted.
unable to carry out their mandated tasks.
• Prevailing arrangements do not encourage
Information private-sector participation in the develop-
ment of biomass resources in forest and non-
• Information on the amount of biomass that forest areas. Utilisation of biomass for com-
may be sustainably available for power mercial energy production and marketing
generation does not exist in most coun- requires legislative provisions and incen-
tries. Relevant information includes tives. Wherever feasible, countries should
biomass from both existing natural re- encourage, through legal and financial pro-
source bases and additional production visions, the plantation of fast-growing multi-
from new sources, including currently purpose trees, if not as single-purpose plan-
under-utilised residues. Further reliable tations then as part of larger, multiple-use
information must be generated for data production systems.

Page 9

AEEMTRC, COGEN and RWEDP are all involved in biomass energy in the ASEAN re-
gion. The three organisations have complementary strengths and have agreed to co-oper-
ate in various aspects of their work. A Memorandum of Understanding formalises their
cooperation on information relating to wood and biomass energy. The cooperation of other
institutions with similar interests is invited.

Acknowledging the need for improved data, common policies and concerted action, the
objectives of the present Memorandum of Understanding are to:
- Integrate wood and biomass energy information into energy data bases;
- Identify data gaps which limit the integration of wood/biomass energy considerations
into long-term development programmes;
- Identify data collection activities which countries need to undertake to fill these data
- Assist in the development of sustainable energy policies.

AEEMTRC, COGEN and RWEDP seek advice and guidance on the following questions:
- How can ASEAN Member Countries further benefit from biomass energy projects and
programmes in the region?
- What specific needs for further action exist?
- How should reporting to ASEAN Ministers on Energy and Senior Officials on Energy be

ASEAN-EC Energy Management EC-ASEAN COGEN Programme FAO Regional Wood Energy
Training and Research Centre Development Programme
The COGEN Programme is an eco- in Asia
AEEMTRC is based in Jakarta. The nomic cooperation programme be-
objectives are to further enhance the tween the European Commission RWEDP is a long-term project im-
cooperation between the seven (EC) and the Association of South- plemented by the Food and Agricul-
ASEAN countries, and to strengthen East Asian Nations (ASEAN) co- ture Organization of the United
the political, economic and commer- ordinated by the Asian Institute of Nations. The project is funded by the
cial links between the ASEAN and the Technology (AIT), Bangkok. Its aim is Government of The Netherlands and
European Union in the field of energy. to accelerate the implementation of based in Bangkok. RWEDP has 16
AEEMTRC is guided by a Project proven technologies generating heat member-countries in Asia, including
Steering Committee composed of Sen- and/or power from wood and agro-in- 5 ASEAN Member Countries (Indo-
ior Officials on Energy (SOE’s) from dustrial residues through partner- nesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thai-
the respective governments and an EC ships between European and South- land and Vietnam), as well as 3 in-
representative. In 1996 the ASEAN East Asian companies. In a short pe- coming ASEAN Member Countries
Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) riod of time, the COGEN Programme (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar).
decided that AEEMTRC be trans- has established references of Euro- RWEDP focuses on wood/biomass
formed into an ASEAN energy centre, pean and Euro-ASEAN equipment in energy and aims to (1) strengthen
with effect from January 1999. The selected wood and agro-industries in institutional capacities for
centre will be placed under the aus- ASEAN. It is now involved in the pro- databases, (2) assist in policies and
pices of the AMEM and the SOE Lead- motion of reference projects, thus forg- planning, and (3) develop capabili-
ers. The mission is to accelerate the ing closer links between European ties for implementing programmes.
integration of energy strategies within suppliers and ASEAN customers and Main areas of expertise are wood en-
ASEAN to ensure over the long-term partners. The Programme is currently ergy resource development, wood en-
the necessary energy development in involved in the implementation of over ergy conservation, and wood energy
harmony with the economic growth US$ 100 million worth of Euro- planning and policy development.
and the environmental sustainability. ASEAN biomass energy equipment.

Page 10

ASEAN Member Countries have experi- Barriers

enced high economic growth in recent years.
Barriers to the production, free flow and
They are now under enormous pressure to
sustainable use of wood and biomass fuels
ensure reliable energy supplies in order to
should be removed.
maintain current, or even accelerated,
growth rates. Most of the additional energy
Technology transfer
demand is being met by fossil fuels. As
ASEAN countries are in the tropics they Transfer of improved biomass combustion
have favourable conditions for growing technology should be promoted both within
biomass, which can strengthen their self-re- the region and from outside. This can be im-
liance in terms of energy. Clear and consist- plemented by stimulating leading institutes
ent policies are needed to make the most of and organizations to acquire knowledge and
this. Modern power generation from biomass cost-effective equipment and to establish
sources should be further developed. demonstration sites for improved use of
biomass fuels.
Data collection
Data on supply and demand of biomass en-
Information centres
ergy should be collected systematically and Establishing national energy information
periodically. The data should be used by centres to assist private-sector initiatives
planning units as a basis for energy policies. should be encouraged. These information
centres should aim to serve as “one-stop
Incentives agencies”, providing all information on sup-
ply and demand projections, government
Fiscal and pricing policies should be re-
regulations, technology suppliers, etc. They
viewed, so as to remove discrimination in
should fully incorporate biomass energy.
favour of certain fuel sources. Biomass en-
ergy should be allowed a “level playing field”
in competition with other renewables and
fossil fuels.

It is recommended that:

1. Asean Ministers on Energy acknowledge the important role of

biomass energy in Member Countries, as well as its future

2. Biomass energy is fully integrated in national energy policies

and planning.

3. Serious thought is given by policy makers to optimising modern

power generation from biomass sources.

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Annex 1 Biomass energy in ASEAN economies (graphs)

Annex 2 Residue potential in ASEAN countries

Annex 3 Example: a woodwaste power plant in Indonesia

Annex 4 Biomass energy in selected industrialized countries

Annex 5 Example: biomass energy in Denmark

Page 12


1,600,000 100


800,000 50

400,000 Conventional Energy
20 Consumption
200,000 Biomass Energy

- - Share of Biomass in
Total Energy
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994


700,000 100


500,000 70




200,000 30
Conventional Energy
20 Consumption
100,000 Biomass Energy
- - Share of Biomass in
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 Total Energy

Note: 1 Petajoule (PJ) = 1000 Terajoule (TJ) = 23.88 ktoe

Annex 1-1 Page 13

450,000 100

400,000 90




150,000 Conventional
100,000 Consumption
Biomass Energy
50,000 10 Consumption

- - Share of Biomass
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 in Total Energy

1,600,000 100


800,000 50

200,000 Conventional Energy
- 0 Biomass Energy











Share of Biomass in
Total Energy
300,000 100




150,000 50

50,000 Energy
10 Consumption
Biomass Energy
- 0 Consumption











Share of Biomass
Year in Total Energy

Page 14 Annex 1-2








500,000 1994 prim. energy production

Agroprocessing residues
Field based agroresidues

Agro based w ood residues

INS Forestry based w ood residues












Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam

Annex 2 Page 15

Many wood-processing industries are used For this project, the EC-ASEAN COGEN
to simply dumping their woodwastes, caus- programme has carried out a pre-investment
ing significant environmental pollution. At study. Operating staff are to receive special
the same time, these industries buy in fuel training and the plant will be monitored af-
oil. In Indonesia and Malaysia a trend is now ter implementation.
emerging to establish integrated wood-
processing complexes, where
woodwastes from processing are
being used to supply energy for the
complex, making the units both
more efficient and more economi-
cal, and minimising pollution.

Plywood Manufacturing
One example is the Indonesian ply-
wood manufacturing company PT
Siak Raya Timber, located in
Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia.
The company employs 6,000 peo-
ple and produces a yearly average
of 160,000 m3 of plywood and sec-
ondary processing plywood prod-
ucts. In addition, an affiliated
woodworking factory produces about 50,000
m3 per annum of downstream products. The Technology
raw materials used for these products come
mainly from company-owned forests in cen- The turnkey-supplied plant will consist of
tral Sumatra. In the process, a lot of residues the following main components:
are produced. As yet the company generates • a fuel-handling and boiler-feeding system;
electricity using diesel gensets, but it has • a water tube boiler with a capacity of 40
decided to install an energy plant, using its tonnes per hour, at 33 bar and 385 ºC;
own wood residues as fuel, to meet its heat • a 5.55 MW extraction-condensing turbo-
and power requirements. generator set;.
• a river water-cooled surface condenser;
Cost reduction and reduced environmental • a power transmission system.
impact will be achieved by replacing the ex-
isting diesel engines by the new energy plant Economics
fuelled by wood residues, generating 5.55
Excluding civil and structural works, the to-
MW of electricity for captive use. In this
tal investment cost for the equipment on a
way, expected increased expenditure on fos-
turnkey basis is US$ 5.6 million. Based on
sil fuels is also avoided. Contracts have been
the present diesel consumption and price,
signed with European equipment suppliers.
the annual savings in diesel purchase will
This is slightly more expensive locally manu-
be more than US$ 1.7 million. The expected
factured equipment, but it is assumed that
pay-back period is around three years after
reliability and efficiency are higher, thus
minimising the operation and maintenance

Page 16 Annex 3

Several industrialised countries promote a matter of debate. Finland has over 10 mil-
biomass energy, for both environmental and lion ha of commercial peat reserves which
socio-economic reasons. These countries use should last for at least 200 years at the
locally available wood and biomass fuels as present rate of use, though renewal of the
alternatives to oil or coal, taking advantage exploited land takes several thousand years.
of recently developed technologies, and thus However, it is generally included along with
avoid CO2 emissions and reduce their own wastes and residues, partly because it can
dependency on oil. A few examples are given be utilised with similar burners or grates.
below: Tree planting is another ongoing strategy
to extend the energy potential of Finland.
In Sweden, biomass and peat contribute
about 12% of the total energy supply of
around 1,600 PJ/a. The main source is liq-
uors from pulp mills, but woodfuels (logs,
bark and sawdust), municipal solid waste and
peat are all used for district heating, home
heating and in the forest products industry
itself. Biomass-based district heating has
increased more than fivefold in less than 20
years, from 5 PJ in 1980 to 53 PJ today. Of
this, 27 PJ comes from woodfuel, 15 PJ from
refuse and 11 PJ from peat. In addition, some
7 PJ of biofuels were used for electricity gen-
eration last year. Seventy buses are cur-
rently running on ethanol to demonstrate
the potentials of liquid biofuels. Austria

Finland In Austria, renewable energy sources sup-

ply 27% of the country’s primary total en-
The situation in Finland is similar to that in ergy consumption (PTEC) of 1,143 PJ/a, with
Sweden, with as much as 30% of total en- biomass providing 13%. Of the biomass
ergy supply coming from biofuels, hydroelec- used, almost 98% is fuelwood, bark, wood
tricity and peat. Again, of the total of around chips and other forest industry by-products.
330 PJ/a being supplied by biofuels, pulp Most of these are used in over 530,000 small
waste liquors accounts for the largest pro- wood-burning installations and 400,000 tiled
portion (45%), followed by peat (19%), stoves, as well as 63,000 larger furnaces and
woodwaste (18%) and firewood (18%), with 200 district heating plants. The other 2% is
municipal waste less than 1%. Over 140 made up from biogas plant, together with
biomass-fuelled district heating systems ex- small-scale use (0.4% or 0.6 PJ) of rapeseed
ist, varying in size from less than 1 to over methylester (RME), produced in six instal-
50 MW. One of the largest cogeneration lations as a substitute for diesel fuel. How-
plants is peat-fired and produces around 80 ever, Austria is currently considering pro-
MW of electricity and 120 MW of district ducing up to 150 million litres of RME per
heat. year from 150,000 ha of rapeseed planta-
tions. This represents an annual yield in
Whether peat is renewable and counts as energy terms of about 500 PJ. Other ongo-
biomass, or is close to the initial stages of ing developments include the use of straw
the formation of coal and other fossil fuel, is and fast-growing trees for energy.

Annex 4-1 Page 17

The European Union If short-rotation forestry is implemented over
the next decade as expected, dedicated energy
In the European Union, the amount of land crops may overtake agricultural and forest
set aside for rapeseed for fuel has expanded residues as a source of fuel for electricity gen-
from 200,000 ha in 1992 to nearly one million eration before 2020. In some regions relatively
ha in 1995. This was stimulated by the revised large power stations in the 60–100 MWe range
Common Agricultural Policy, with more di- are possible, making the economics much bet-
rect payments to farmers - in theory to com- ter than those for smaller systems such as
pensate for lower prices. Vagaries in the those found in Europe.
weather in 1995 have resulted in a shortfall
in cereals, higher prices, and an unexpected The other major biomass use is in the produc-
bonus to many farmers as well as suggestions tion of bio-ethanol for addition to petrol, as
that the set-aside area should now be de- an oxygenate and octane enhancer. The corn-
creased. processing industry now uses around 20 mil-
lion tonnes of maize a year (some 10% of total
Bio-energy research in Europe focusses on the corn use in the USA), with a recent annual
production of liquid fuels from lignocellulosic growth rate of around 4%, mainly accounted
materials, thermochemical conversion as well for by increased production of fuel alcohol. The
as gasification linked to power generation. primary driving force for expanding ethanol
sales is now the reformulated gasoline pro-
USA gramme, which began on 1 January 1995, as
mandated by the Clean Air Act Amendments
The use of wood for energy in the USA is grow-
of 1990. In the Chicago and Milwaukee mar-
ing steadily, at about 1.2% per year, expected
kets, ethanol’s market share was as high as
to reach around 3,000 PJ by the year 2,000.
70%, while it captured almost 100% of the pre-
Around 70% of the woodfuels are used within
mium winter oxygenated fuel markets in Colo-
the forest products industries themselves, the
rado. For regions where transportation and
rest for household heating and electricity gen-
other distribution costs limit competitiveness,
eration. Wood-based electricity generation is
gasoline is blended with ethanol-derived Ethyl
expected to grow fast, consuming approxi-
Tertiary Butyl Ether (ETBE) at the refinery,
mately 500 PJ in 2000, 1,000 PJ by 2010 and
and shipped in common carrier pipelines. A
possibly reaching 3,000 PJ by 2030.
tax exemption for biofuels is put in place to
support this.
The production of electricity from wood has
been highly successful in moderate-scale fa-
The potential market for corn-based ethanol
cilities in northern New England and the up-
is limited once industrial use starts to com-
per Midwest, with some 700 MW electricity
pete with food use. A present priority issue
generating capacity provided by 30 or more
for the US government’s renewable energy
cogeneration or free-standing plants built
activities is therefore research on producing
over the last decade. Many of these plants are
new liquid biofuels and blending additives
located at pulp and paper or other forest-prod-
from other agricultural materials and wood.
uct mills that produce both steam and elec-
tricity. New technologies are being developed
An ambitious programme has been launched
for co-firing biomass in coal-fired boilers.
to produce up to 20% of liquid fuel require-
ments from short-rotation woody plantations
Dry densified woodfuels, such as pellets and
and other biomass. A major goal of the pro-
briquettes, can be burned efficiently in fur-
gramme is to reduce the cost of producing
nace/boiler units and wood stoves by commer-
ethanol from energy crops from US$ 0.33 per
cial or residential users. For instance, wood
litre in 1990 to less than US$ 0.25 by 2005 and
or biomass is pelletised and is fed into coal
under 20 cents by 2010. For ethanol from
boilers in a mix of 15% pellets and 85% coal.
cellulosic waste materials, the goals are 13
This low-cost supplemental fuel helps dispose
cents per litre in 2005 and 9 cents in 2010. It
of wood wastes, produces lower emissions of
is this setting of specific objectives and tar-
sulphur dioxide and other undesirable gases,
gets that distinguishes the US R&D strategy
and reduces fossil-fuel consumption.
from that in the European Union.

Page 18 Annex 4-2


At present, 6% of Denmark’s total energy waste. The organic waste is used in biogas
consumption is covered by biomass energy, digester plants which generate heat and
representing 75% of the country’s renew- electricity from the biogas. Combustible
able energy production. Denmark is an ag- waste accounts for 10 PJ out of 80 PJ of heat
ricultural country and generates large delivered by district heating systems. By
amounts of straw (2.3 Mt/a or 46 PJ) and 2000, all combustible wastes will be used for
animal wastes (3 Mt/a or 26 PJ), which are energy purposes, mainly in cogeneration fa-
increasingly being used as sources of en- cilities. All waste incineration and district
ergy. Straw presses have been developed heating units above 1 MW will be converted
that efficiently process the straw into bales to cogeneration units by the same deadline.
of standard sizes, which are used in 8,000
on-farm heating systems (0.39 Mt/a) and,
increasingly, purchased by electric utilities
for power generation (0.26 Mt/a) and/or dis-
trict heating (0.28 Mt). Electricity genera-
tion from straw is set to expand further, as
the Danish power utilities have signed con-
tracts for 1.4 Mt/a.

Though only 12% of the country is forested,

70% of all wood residues from forestry, or
5.1 PJ, is being used for energy purposes.
The majority of these residues are chipped
in situ using mobile equipment. All indus-
trial woodwaste (0.15 Mt/y or 13.2 PJ) is al- Energy policies
ready pelletized and used as an energy
source. The main use for both wood chips In reaction to the 1973 oil shock, Denmark
and wood pellets is in district heating plants put emphasis on energy conservation and
that previously used coal. fuel substitution (from oil to natural gas and
biomass) to reduce the country’s dependence
Municipal solid waste (MSW) is also in- on oil imports. Individual heating systems
creasingly being used for energy. House- were replaced by more efficient district heat-
holds separate organic from non-organic ing systems. An energy tax was introduced
on oil and coal to keep consumer prices high.
Pricing differentiation of fuel types, which promotes Tax earnings were invested in energy-sav-
the development of bioenergy in Denmark
ing equipment and research into modern
biomass systems. Cogeneration district heat-
Price before tax Energy tax CO2 tax

Straw ing plants were converted to use straw, wood

chips and waste. Burning straw in the field
Whole-tree chips
was prohibited in 1990. The issue of global
Wood pellets warming led to the introduction of a CO2 tax
Coal in combination with incentives for decen-
tralized electricity generation using
Fuel oil
renewables. Other incentives are funding of
Natural gas up to 30% of the cost of biomass-fired boil-
Gas oil
ers and biogas plants, and support for re-
search into modern biomass energy crops
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
and systems.

Annex 5 Page 19

• Summary
• Biomass energy in ASEAN economies
• Advantages & constraints
• Utilization and sources in ASEAN countries
• Making the most of biomass energy
• A call for action

• Annex 1 Biomass energy in ASEAN economies (graphs)

• Annex 2 Residue potential in ASEAN countries
• Annex 3 Example: a woodwaste power plant in Indonesia
• Annex 4 Biomass energy in selected industrialized countries
• Annex 5 Example: biomass energy in Denmark

for more information, please contact:

Regional Wood Energy Development Programme in Asia

Maliwan Mansion
Phra Atit Road
Bangkok 10200
Tel: +66 (2) 2802760
Fax: +66 (2) 2800760