This amounts to 120 PJ; 45 PJ from waste and 75 PJ from clean biomass. About 4 million tonnes of biomass will be needed, far more than is available in the Netherlands. Four million tonnes corresponds to
400,000 ha of agricultural land at 10 tonnes/ha/yr or half that agricultural area plus all forestry thinnings. Utilisation of indigenous wood waste and import of other biomass will therefore be necessary in the start-up
phases, when biomass conversion technologies will be implemented and developed. Utilisation of energy crops is scheduled for the longer term. By that time, investment costs will have reduced and the cost price of
conventional energy increased. However, in order to implement energy crops when the time comes, measures should be taken now to enable its market introduction.
Energy crops do have the
advantage over wood waste and imported wood, that the supply of material can be more easily planned and better guaranteed. For example, the availability of industrial wood waste can decrease if industrial production
processes are further optimised, if the market for chipboard grows or if substitution of plastic products continues. The import of wood from other countries is not yet fully underway and it will be some time before an
international biomass trade market is established. Because energy crops are products in their own right, not by-products of other industries, both the quantity (yield) and the quality of the material can be optimised by
PROSPECTS IN THE NETHERLANDS
Whether or not energy crops can contribute to a sustainable energy-based economy lies in various hands. Agricultural and energy experts have to
convince policy makers of the potential of energy crops in terms of yields, production costs and environmental gains. Policy makers in turn must decide whether, for a limited time, a structural subsidy should be
provided to enable technological and agricultural breakthroughs.
DUTCH BIOMASS PROGRAMME
The Dutch national programme on energy from biomass focuses on developing clean and efficient technologies for
converting biomass into energy. In co-operation with market parties, projects are formulated to identify the waste and residue streams available for energy conversion, to solve the logistical problems and to develop the
most appropriate technology.
The waste streams involved vary from municipal solid waste, landfill and contaminated wood to residues from forestry, straw etc. The relevant technologies are direct combustion on a
scale of up to 20 MWth, and 10% co-combustion with powder coal to generate electricity on a scale of 600 MWe. For organic waste streams, anaerobic digestion is being developed and implemented on various scales.
national biomass gasification programme is being set up with industry and research institutes. The establishment of a pilot project for the circulating fluidised bed gasification of biomass will enable experiments to be
conducted with different forms of biomass and their technical application.