An often underestimated and versatile renewable energy source

Biomass is an important resource for the energy transition. This diverse and renewable energy source is already making a major contribution to the heat, transport and electricity sectors quickly achieving the goal of climate neutrality. 

Biomass can be used to sustainably generate electricity, heat and fuel. Biogas plants stabilise electricity grids through decentralised and flexible energy production and feed biomethane into the natural gas grid. The injected gas can then be used for electricity and heat generation or as biofuel, regardless of where it is produced. Biomass can also be used to produce hydrogen. 


There is plenty of biomass in North Rhine-Westphalia. Electricity generation could reach more than eight terawatt-hours per year. This corresponds to the annual supply of household electricity for about five and a half million people. The production of biogenic heat can even reach more than 23 terawatt-hours per year. A successful energy transition must make use of this potential. 


The possible uses of biomass for power generation are: 


In North Rhine-Westphalia, around 1,400 biomass plants produced more than 6.2 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2020. This is about half the output currently provided by wind energy in NRW. About half of the biomass plants are agricultural biogas plants. The number of plants has remained constant in recent years with only slight increases and, in addition to being expanded in an eco-friendly way, the technology should be optimised. 


Out of all renewable energy sources, biomass accounts for the largest share of heat production at 85 per cent nationwide. Solid fuels such as wood and large biomass cogeneration plants are in first place, followed by biogas and wastewater treatment plants and liquid gas. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the installed thermal capacity of all biomass plants is 3,000 megawatts. New construction has been stagnating for some time. Last year, about six megawatts of thermal capacity were reinstalled. 


In the transport sector, biogenic fuels rank first among renewable energy sources, accounting for almost 88 per cent and about 39 terawatt-hours nationwide. The amount of energy from biogenic fuels even increased by 24 per cent in 2020. The most important biofuel is biodiesel, the use of which increased by 35 per cent in 2020. The share of biomethane is low at 0.9 terawatt-hours. However, this is expected to increase in the coming years, especially in the form of BIO-LNG for heavy-duty vehicles. The sustainability of the entire value chain must be incorporated into the concepts. 

Your contact

Portrait des Projektmanagers für Energiewirtschaft Dr. Petr Tluka. Im Hintergrund ist eine große Glasfront zu sehen.

Dr. Petr Tluka

Project Manager Energy Sector

Phone: +49 211 8220 864-53

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