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Biobased Energy in Flanders, Belgium

Based on the study: rslag%20biobased%20economie.pdf

1. Introduction
Biobased energy means first of all the production of electricity out of biomass, whether it be through gasification or any other process. About 1.65% of Flemish electricity production is biobased. However, it needs to be mentioned that a large part of this production is done by burning biomass in combination with fossil fuels, and therefore this is not completely biobased. Secondly, biobased heath can be produced using a heatpowercoupling system (WKK) or by burning wood. According to our estimates, about 1.6% of the produced heat in Flanders is biobased. Thirdly, we investigated the production of biofuels in Flanders. About 4% of the Flemish consumption of fuels consists of bioethanol, biodiesel or biogas. In total seven companies are producing biofuels in Flanders and none of them has reached its full capacity. A lot of research is being carried out, at the Flemish as well as the European level, on the production of biobased energy and the development of alternative production systems. Also in policy, biobased energy or more generally green energy has been put high on the agenda. In general it can be concluded that most of the biomass (in volume) comes from abroad. The strongest developed sectors (like fuel production) have a need for bulk raw materials that can be produced more efficiently abroad because of scale effects. The aim of the Belgian government is to have in 2020 13% of the energy production to be renewable, now its only 3,3 %. In 2020 10% bio fuels should be used, for the moment there is 4% used. The aim is to decrease the emission of CO2 by use of renewable energy (Kyoto: -7,5%, compared to 1990)

2. Energy production in Belgium

Still most of energy is made from oil. Biomass energy is not in the diagram yet of 2008.

Figure 1: Energy sources in 2008 in Belgium

In 2010 13,91 % (ca. 350 GWh) of the green energy production comes from biogas. It should have been even more but due to the crisis, the growth was less than expected.

Figure 2: Green energy production in 2010 in Belgium

In 2020 the government hopes to have much more green energy and heath, see below.

Figure 3: Sources of green electricity, estimation in 2020 in Belgium

Figure 4: Sources of green heath, estimations in 2020 in Belgium in kilo tons of oil equivalent (ktoe)

3. Conversion techniques used in Belgium : Thermochemical techniques

Burning the biomass with oxygen gives ashes, warmth and smoke. With warmth you can heat for example water and make electricity. In 2008 Flanders produces 10,2 PJ heath from bio-mass (Briffaers, Cornelis et al., 2009). This is 2,1% of the warmth production in Flanders. From this warmth, 35 % is produced by CHP installations. We had in 2010 207 installations of CHP, mostly in the province Antwerpen.

Figure 5: CHP in the different provinces of Flanders

Warmth is also obtained from pellets made wood (rests). In Belgium the demand of pellets is higher than the production. The demand of industrial pellets to make electricity is big. Most pellets are imported from Germany.

Figure 6: Production and consumption of pellets in different countries in 1000 tons in 2008 Sikkema, Steiner et al, 2009

The first production of wood pellets in Belgium started in 2005. Most production is in Wallonia.

With warmth and with less oxygen than for burning, biomass turns into gases. This gas can be used to be fuel for a motor or turbine to make electricity.

Without oxygen, the biomass is conversed into gas an liquid bio fuels.

4. Conversion techniques used in Belgium: biochemical conversion

The biomass is digested into biogas by several bacterias. Its a process without oxygen. The biogas can be used as a fuel to make electricity and warmth.

Until now, fermentation was done with manure. Nowadays more and more other biomass will be fermented such as rests from agriculture harvest, berm mowing, energy crops, In 2007 Belgium was on the 9th place of biogas production in Europe. There was 78.000 tons of oil equivalents produced, mostly on farms. The biogasproduction in m3 gas/ton fresh material depends upon the source of biomass. :

Figure 7: Biogasproduction depending upon the source of biomass.

In comparison to the production coast mas, sugarbeets and raygrass are good choices, grains are for bio gas production not such a good idea.

Figure 8: Biogasproduction (yellow) and production coasts (blue)

In Belgium were in 2009 already 29 installations of biogas operating and 24 installations were built. The biogas was mostly used to make electricity and warmth. There is no possibility yet to put this in the traditional natural gas network or to use this as a fuel in transportation sector.

Alcohols are produced from biomass rich in sugar and starch (grains, mas, potatoes, ). Alcohols can be used as fuel. The production of bio ethanol is still growing. Since 2010 the production equals the quotum.

The production of biodiesel is an example of extraction and is still growing. In 2008 there were 277 kton biodiesel produced in Belgium. Germany and France are the biggest producers of biodiesel in Europe.

Productie van biodiesel in 2008 Duitsland Frankrijk Itali Belgi Polen Portugal Denemarken/Zweden Oostenrijk Spanje VK Slovakije Griekenland Hongarije

1.000 ton 2.819 1.815 595 277 275 268 231 213 207 192 146 107 105

Productie van biodiesel in 2008 Tsjechi Nederland Finland Litouwen Roemeni Letland Ierland Bulgarije Sloveni Cyprus Malta Luxemburg Estland Totaal

1.000 ton 104 101 85 66 65 30 24 11 9 9 1 0 0 7.755

Figure 9 : Production of biodiesel in Europe