Asking people across Europe “what is bioenergy?” often raises more questions than it solves – and this can be understandable. In fact, “bioenergy” is a term that can have different meanings while describing different feedstocks and uses. “Woody biomass,” “agricultural biomass,” “energy crops,” “biofuels,” “bioheat,” “biopower,” “solid biomass,” “bioliquids,” or “biogas,” are all different subcategories of the bioenergy sector. As technology progresses, new feedstocks and appliances regularly appear, enriching the field of bioenergy with neologisms. This is why it is essential to set proper and simple definitions before trying to understand the place and the role of bioenergy in Europe.

In short, bioenergy refers to all types of energy derived from the conversion of natural, biological sources available on a renewable basis.

Within our close environment, a great source of organic materials such as plants, algae, or organic wastes, can be valuable fuels as soon as a technology makes it possible to efficiently extract all of its energy potential. Bioenergy players traditionally refer to biomass to describe those usable feedstocks. Biomass currently used in Europe includes wood from forests, agricultural crops and residues, by-products from the wood and agricultural industry, herbaceous and woody energy crops, municipal organic wastes and manure, and could potentially integrate algae and marine biomass in the future.

>>> Discover the wide diversity of biomass materials used in Europe in our Bioenergy Scroller and their proportion according to the statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) in the first section below (What are the Biomass Sources Consumed in the EU-28 ?).

Some biomass materials may be used directly as fuel, as is the case with traditional firewood still widely used worldwide. However, since the oil crisis of the 1970s, modern installations have developed to use more and more processed biomasses: agricultural crops are turned into biofuels, manure into biogas, or wood into pellets.

>>> Discover the different processes to turn raw biomass materials into advanced energy products in our Bioenergy Scroller and general information on these processes in the middle section below (How Biomass is Processed in the EU-28 ?)

In this context, bioenergy is the only renewable energy source able to provide the three main sources of energy needed both by individuals and businesses: bio-heat/cooling, bio-power and bio-fuel.

>>> Discover how bioenergy is consumed in Europe in the third section below (What is the EU-28 Bioenergy Consumption?)

What are the Biomass Sources Consumed in the EU-28 ?

What are the Biomass Sources Consumed in the EU-28 ?

Bioenergy covers – more than any other renewable energy – a wide range of feedstocks and conversion technologies. Biomass of all types mobilised in Europe to produce energy accounted for 130201,1 ktoe in 2015. As a way of comparison, this means that biomass used for energy surpasses the European production of coal in the same period. Find out in the following section how biomass is mobilised in Europe
How is Biomass Processed in the EU-28 ?

How is Biomass Processed in the EU-28 ?

There are many ways to transform biomass raw material into efficient energy sources. They depend on the biomass chosen and the products to be obtained. In many case, Europe is a front runner worldwide regarding the development of new applications and processes. In the following section learn more about the great diversity of technologies currently used in Europe and the most promising applications.
What is the EU-28 Bioenergy Consumption?

What is the EU-28 Bioenergy Consumption?

Bioenergy consumed in Europe accounts for 11% of the total energy mix in 2017, making it by far the first source of renewable energy. Bioenergy can be used to develop heating and cooling, motive and electric power generation. In the following section you will learn more about the contribution of bioenergy to the following sector and the achievement of the EU-28 energy targets.