• Clean Coal Centre report studies supply chain costs of biomass

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A new report from the Clean Coal Centre of the International Energy Agency has looked at the supply chain costs of producing electricity from biomass. Unsurprisingly, it finds that the levelized cost of electricity from biomass is higher than that for coal, though it identifies two areas of improvement in the biomass supply chain – choosing lower-emissions fuels for drying biomass (to improve its overall carbon footprint) and reducing transportation distances, either by increasing biomass-fuel production in Europe (where it is mostly consumed), or increasing consumption in North America (where it is primarily produced). Importantly, the report also finds that the use of biomass to reduce CO2 emissions is generally comparable in cost terms to renewables, although it does not have the lower ranges of cost that some renewables do. With costs of renewables falling quickly, it seems likely that biomass will be less cost-competitive as a means of reducing CO2 emissions in the future, though biomass has the advantage of not being an intermittent power generation technology.