The challenge is the ‘chain of custody’, or supply chain management, in which biomass is tracked from the farmer, through the processing industry, the manufacturer and to the end user, with all the trade steps in between. It is a subject that is very much alive, as became clear during two recent webinars of the Dutch Platform Bio-Economy (PBE), which also attracted international attention.
Chain management provides the users of biomass with an enormous (albeit digital) amount of paperwork, for which energy company RWE, for example, has developed a special ‘tracker’: an app that is integrated into the process management system. RWE co-fires 2.5 million tons of wood pellets annually in two of its Dutch coal-fired power plants. But biomass is also becoming increasingly important as a renewable carbon source for industry, where there is a growing need for alternatives to fossil raw materials. Here, too, it is important to be able to demonstrate that bio-based raw materials have been sustainably sourced. “That will still be quite a challenge for the industry.”
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