Increasing biomass resource availability through supply chain analysis
Increased inclusion of biomass in energy strategies all over the world means that greater mobilisation of biomass resources will be required to meet demand. Strategies of many EU countries assume the future use of non-EU sourced biomass. An increasing number of studies call for the UK to consider alternative options, principally to better utilise indigenous resources. This research identifies the indigenous biomass resources that demonstrate the greatest promise for the UK bioenergy sector and evaluates the extent that different supply chain drivers influence resource availability. The analysis finds that the UK’s resources with greatest primary bioenergy potential are household wastes (>115 TWh by 2050), energy crops (>100 TWh by 2050) and agricultural residues (>80 TWh by 2050). The availability of biomass waste resources was found to demonstrate great promise for the bioenergy sector, although are highly susceptible to influences, most notably by the focus of adopted waste management strategies. Biomass residue resources were found to be the resource category least susceptible to influence, with relatively high near-term availability that is forecast to increase – therefore representing a potentially robust resource for the bioenergy sector. The near-term availability of UK energy crops was found to be much less significant compared to other resource categories. Energy crops represent long-term potential for the bioenergy sector, although achieving higher limits of availability will be dependent on the successful management of key influencing drivers. The research highlights that the availability of indigenous resources is largely influenced by a few key drivers, this contradicting areas of consensus of current UK bioenergy policy.