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Phasing out biomass for district heating too quickly jeopardizes the climate goals. This is the conclusion of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) in its 'Advice on the phasing out of woody biobased raw materials for heat applications.'
Editorial office / The Hague

This advice was written at the request of the Dutch Department of Economic Affairs and Climate, which wants to phase out the use of woody biobased raw materials for low-temperature heat.

According to the PBL, it is unlikely that sufficient alternative heat sources can be scaled up before 2030 to compensate for the loss of biobased raw materials. Heating homes with the help of electric heat pumps is expensive, especially in existing buildings, it can overload the electricity networks, and demands a lot of available space for installations and a high level of insulation in buildings. The alternative, heating using sustainable gases and possibly hybrid heat pumps, is still in the early stages. There is also great uncertainty as to whether sufficient green gas and – in the longer term – sufficient sustainable hydrogen can be produced by 2030.

Negative effect

When phasing out heat from biomass, the sustainability ambition for heat networks from the Climate Agreement will probably have to be abandoned. The choice to phase out woody biobased raw materials quickly as a heat source can also have a negative effect on the long-term sustainability strategy for the built environment, concludes PBL.

Also read the new article about biomass and the Energy Agreement in Agro & Chemie.

Image: Louis Meulstee/PBL