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TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                               ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
                                                                                                ACSD    Albanian Center for           HHEA     Household Energy               PDD       Program Design Document
                                                                                                        Sustainable Development                Economic Analysis
     Acronyms and Abbreviations                                                             5
     Acknowledgements and Foreword                                                        6-7   ASEAN   Association of Southeast       HIC     High Impact Countries          PoA       Program of Activities
                                                                                                        Asian Nations
     Executive Summary                                                                    8-9
                                                                                                 BEIA   Biomass Energy Initiative    ISBWG     International Sustainable      PPA       Power Purchase Agreement
                                                                                                        for Africa                             Bioeconomy Working Group
     1       Role of Bioenergy in Stimulating the Bioeconomy in DCs and LDCs
               1.1    Sustainable bioeconomy                                              10                                                   King Mongkut's University
                                                                                                 BRL    Brazilian Real               KMUTT     of Technology Thonburi       ProAlcool   National Alcohol Program
               1.2    Bioenergy and bioeconomy in DCs and LDCs                            10
               1.3    Bioenergy and the Sustainable Development Goals                     11                                                                                            Private Sector Guarantee
                                                                                                 CCL    Consumer’s Choice Limited     KSD      Khongsedone Ltd                PSGF      Fund
               1.4    Enabling policy environment                                         13
               1.5    Bioenergy projects: success factors                                 13
                                                                                                CC-SF   Clean Cooking Social          kWel     Kilowatt electrical            R&D       Research and Development
     2       Biomass and Technologies
               2.1  Introduction                                                          14     CHP    Combined Heat and Power       kWth     Kilowatt thermal                RE       Renewable Energy
               2.2 Case Study #1: Large-scale production of white and black pellets –
                    Futerra Fuels, Portugal                                               16     CO₂    Carbon dioxide                kWh      Kilowatt-hour                  RFS       Renewable Fuel Standard
               2.3 Case Study #2: Olive oil sector as a bioenergy supplier in Albania     18
               2.4 Case Study #3: Biomass/charcoal briquettes in Uganda                   21     COP    Conference of Parties         kWhel    Kilowatt-hour thermal          ROI       Return on Investment
               2.5 Biomass and the Sustainable Development Goals                          24
               2.6 Success factors and challenges                                         24     CSTR   Continuous Stirring Tank      kWhth    Kilowatt-hour electrical       SCIP      Strategic Climate
                                                                                                        Reactor                                                                         Institutions Program
     3       From Waste to Biogas                                                                                                              Lao People's Democratic                  Sustainable Development
                                                                                                 DC     Developing Country           Lao PDR   Republic                       SDG       Goal
               3.1  Introduction                                                          26
               3.2 Case Study #1: Waste from food processing for captive power –                        Department for                                                                  Stockholm Environment
                                                                                                 DFID   International Development     LDC      Least Developed Country         SEI      Institute
                    Biogas from avocado waste in Kenya                                    27
               3.3 Case Study #2: Biogas-based electricity generation for export to the                                                        Liquor Distillery
                                                                                                 EGM    Expert Group Meeting          LDO      Organization Excise            SME       Small and Medium
                    grid from food production residues in Brazil                          28                                                                                            Enterprise
               3.4 Case Study #3: Waste from agro-business for biogas production from
                    vegetable residues and maize stalks in Kenya                          30     EMD    Ethanol Micro Distillery      LHV      Lower Heating Value            SSA       Sub-Saharan Africa
               3.5  Biogas and the Sustainable Development Goals                          31
               3.6 Success factors and challenges                                         33     EPA    Environmental Protection       lpd     Liters per Day                SS-TT      South-South Technology
                                                                                                        Authority                                                                       Transfer

     4       Liquid Biofuels – The Alcohols                                                                                                                                             Tanzanian Bureau of
                                                                                                 EUR    Euro                           m³      Cubic meter                    TBS       Standards
               4.1    Introduction                                                        35
               4.2 Case Study #1: Tanzania bioethanol cooking program – a stove and                     Food and Agriculture
                      fuel delivery facilitation project                                  36     FAO    Organization of the United    M&E      Monitoring and Evaluation      TIB       Tanzania Investment Bank
               4.3 Case Study #2: Ethanol production from cassava in Thailand – a case
                                                                                                 FIRI   Food Industries Research      MEF      Market Enabling Framework      TPSF      Tanzanian Private Sector
                      of south-south technology transfer                                  39            Institute                                                                       Foundation
               4.4 Case Study #3: Demonstrating the feasibility of locally produced
                      ethanol for household cooking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia              41     FIT    Feed-in Tariff                MEL      Monitoring, Evaluation and      US       United States
               4.5 Liquid biofuels and the Sustainable Development Goals                  44
               4.6 Success factors and challenges                                         44    FWFCA   Former Women Fuelwood         MW       Megawatt                       USD       US dollar
                                                                                                        Carriers’ Association

     5       Challenges in implementing bioenergy projects
                                                                                                 GBE    Green Bio Energy              MWel     Megawatt electrical            VAT       Value Added Tax
               5.1   Policy and regulatory framework                                      47
               5.2 Economics and finance                                                  48                                                                                            Very High Gravity
                                                                                                 GDP    Gross Domestic Product        NDF      Nordic Development Fund      VHG-SSF     Simultaneous
               5.3   Feedstock supply, process and technology                             49                                                                                            Saccharification and
               5.4 Capacity building and communication                                    51                                                                                            Fermentation

                                                                                                        Global Environmental                   National Science and
                                                                                                 GEF    Facility                     NSTDA     Technology Development          VP       Vegpro
     6       Conclusions and Recommendations                                              52                                                   Agency

     Bibliography                                                                         54     GHG    Greenhouse Gas                Nm³      Normal cubic meter             WB        World Bank

                                                                                                 GL     Gigaliter                     O&M      Operation and Maintenance      WHO       World Health Organization

4                                                                                                                                                                                                                   5
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                                          FOREWORD

This publication has been prepared to highlight the lessons learned       Reaching the targets set by the Paris Agreement, the               most vulnerable and under-served people, at the same
from 15 projects of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)               2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the relat-             time, helping to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and
implemented by UNIDO.                                                     ed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was always                 the associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We
                                                                          going to be challenging. The emergence and rapid global            are pleased to share with you a look into the relatively
                                                                          spread of COVID-19, however, has compounded the                    small, but hugely promising bioenergy sector.
                                                                          situation. While we are still in the midst of the global
Authors:                                                                  pandemic, with the true impacts still to be measured in            From project planning, development and rollout, to
Ludovic Lacrosse, Lead Author and Consultant at UNIDO; Martin             the years to come, it is important to note that despite            key lessons learned, and a brief analysis of the sector
Englisch, BEA Institut für Bioenergie und FHA-Gesellschaft, (Biomass);    seemingly insurmountable challenges, we have wit-                  at large, readers will gain helpful insights into what it
Katharina Danner, Snow Leopard Projects GmbH, (Biogas); and Harry         nessed unprecedented rapid, collective, transboundary              takes to provide locally available bioenergy solutions at
Stokes, Project Gaia Inc. (Biofuels).                                     and cross-sector action in the development and rollout             household, community and industrial levels.
                                                                          of a vaccine; we have witnessed hope – a hope that
Coordination:                                                             the deadly virus could be eliminated, but perhaps so               While it is true that some of the lessons learned from the
Jossy Thomas, Industrial Development Officer; Liliana Morales Rodri-      too that the world could unite to actively and decisively          featured projects are context-specific – matters relat-
guez, Project Associate; and Grazia Chidi Aghaizu, Project Assistant of   respond to recovery and fast track the way to SDGs with            ing to political, financial or geographical locations, for
UNIDO’s Energy Department.                                                the same urgency.                                                  example, have resulted in unique approaches – it is
                                                                                                                                             also true that we are not only limited to the act of repli-
Special thanks go to the colleagues of the UNIDO Department of Ener-      It is, therefore, in this light that our efforts to work collec-   cation for the project to be useful to others. The act of
gy: Tareq Emtairah (Director, Dept of Energy), Petra Schwager (Chief,     tively to promote, advance and mobilize climate technol-           harvesting (taking what is useful) or leveraging knowl-
ETI), Alois Mhlanga, Mark Draek, Martin Lugmayr, Naoki Torii, as well     ogies must continue with zest. It is clear that knowledge          edge (building on what is there) holds similar value in
as the project teams and stakeholders in the field for their valuable     sharing – through channels such as this report – will              the face of increasing urgency.
contributions and suggestions during the development process.             provide the leverage needed for others to learn, plan
                                                                          and implement their own bioenergy projects, ultimately             The SDGs will not be reached in isolation and one way
                                                                          contributing to our collective efforts in reaching self-           to work jointly for meaningful progress is to invest time
                                                                          reliance in energy and achieving the SDGs.                         in knowledge sharing and harvesting. By leveraging the
                                                                                                                                             knowledge of a wide range of successful and not so suc-
                                                                          What follows in this report is an overview of bioenergy            cessful bioenergy projects, it may be possible to avoid
                                                                          projects from around the world, mostly implemented by              certain challenges, be more resilient to challenges,
                                                                          UNIDO, with funding from GEF. While the scope, tech-               save time and money, and ultimately accelerate climate
                                                                          nologies, applications, descriptions and results vary,             action on the ground.
                                                                          they are united by the goal to achieve reliable, safe
                                                                          and affordable clean energy for people in low income
                                                                          countries, bringing clean energy to some of the world’s

6                                                                                                                                                                                                        7
EXECUTIVE                                                                                                                  for clean cooking is still rather new. However, it shows
                                                                                                                           a great development potential in tropical countries,
                                                                                                                                                                                      Most bioenergy projects in DCs and LDCs result from
                                                                                                                                                                                      technology transfer. The appropriateness of the

                                                                                                                           given a large diversity of feedstocks generated by         technology, i.e. its ability to be easily operated and
                                                                                                                           the agricultural and food-processing sectors. The          maintained, must be carefully assessed. Whenever
                                                                                                                           demonstration projects implemented in Tanzania             possible, partial or total manufacturing of the
                                                                                                                           and Ethiopia are good references and should pave           equipment should be transferred to the recipient
                                                                                                                           the way for broader uptake in countries with similar       country. This requires comprehensive, in-depth capacity-
                                                                                                                           characteristics.                                           building programs and awareness campaigns, not
Over the past decades and in multiple countries,             the development of the local economy by creating new                                                                     only for the local manufacturers and for the personnel
bioenergy has supported the development of local             jobs, using locally available biomass that would often        Successful bioenergy projects need to be broadly           responsible for the O&M of the bioenergy plant, but for
economies, while helping to reduce the dependency            be left to rot, and (b) to the reduction of deforestation     disseminated to build the confidence of national           all key stakeholders, i.e. biomass producers (farmers),
on imported fossil fuels. If bioenergy resources are         and mitigation of GHG emissions. It is key to use simple,     and local governments who have a key role to play in       bioenergy investors, banks and financial institutions,
produced sustainably, their energy use can contribute        if possible, locally made and fully proven equipment,         supporting their implementation. National action plans     policymakers, as well as researchers and academics.
to the reduction of GHG emissions.                           and make sure that there is enough raw material and           must be in place and provide all the needed support
                                                             sufficient funding to sustain the projects.                   measures, project registration and licensing.              Bioenergy has a very promising future, as only a very
Placed within the overall context of bioeconomy,                                                                                                                                      small fraction of its potential has been exploited so
bioenergy represents a major sector, spread across the       In the chapter on biogas, different applications, based       The dissemination of success stories must also target      far. Proven and reliable technologies are available
globe, as bio-residues generated by other bioeconomy         on various types of waste, are presented:                     banks and financial institutions who are often reluctant   and can provide solutions at household, community
sectors are often used as raw material in bioenergy                                                                        to invest in bioenergy projects as they are not familiar   and industrial levels, provided that the biomass
conversion processes. These bio-residues can be either       •   cogeneration from the use of biogas produced from         with all their benefits. Evidence of the technical         management and organization of the whole supply
bio-effluents, or solid residues from forestry, farming or       avocado waste in Kenya;                                   reliability and economic viability of such projects must   chain is well addressed. Capacity building at all levels
wood and agro-industries.                                    •   cogeneration from biogas produced from swine and          be provided. Besides all the usual economic factors        is essential, along with public awareness campaigns
                                                                 food waste in Brazil; and                                 (investment and operation and maintenance (O&M)            on demonstration projects that have been successfully
Solid biomass is one of the most used forms of               •   diesel substitution by biogas for power generation        costs and revenues), project feasibility studies must      operated for a few years and their strong contribution to
bioenergy. It has been and is still traditionally used           in Kenya.                                                 include a critical analysis of the sustainability of the   the achievement of the SDGs.
for cooking or heating in many countries, especially                                                                       project feedstock supply and of the products sales
in developing countries (DCs) and in least developed         All these biogas projects use proven technologies and         generated by the plant.
countries (LDCs). Gaseous or liquid forms of biofuels,       well-trained personnel. They are commercial projects
such as biogas and bioethanol, are increasingly              in which local investors expect to fully cover their own
available and used, as biogas/biofuel projects are being     energy requirements. They have the confidence of
implemented all around the world, using increasing           financial institutions (banks and international donors),
amounts of performant conversion technologies.               as their financial proposals were strong, and as the
                                                             quality and quantity of the feedstock supply as well as
Several bioenergy case studies presented in this             the off-take of the produced energy (heat and/or power)
document provide good examples of successful                 had already been secured. They offer a great replication
biomass, biogas, and bioethanol projects. Their key          potential.
features are presented, together with their success
factors and the lessons that can be learned from their       In the chapter devoted to liquid biofuels, all the projects
implementation. Moreover, their sustainability is            are bioethanol projects:
addressed vis-à-vis the SDGs.
                                                             •   a cookstove and bioethanol delivery facilitation
The chapter on solid biomass highlights the following            project in Tanzania;
projects:                                                    •   south-south cooperation in bioethanol production
                                                                 from cassava in Southeast Asia; and
•   commercial production of wood and torrefied pellets      •   bioethanol production from a micro-distillery for
    in Portugal;                                                 household cooking in Ethiopia.
•   industrial use of residues from olive oil processing
    factories in Albania; and                                These are small-scale projects aimed at producing
•   production and use of charcoal briquettes in             bioethanol from locally available feedstock. Micro
    Uganda.                                                  distilleries keep the investment at a reasonable level
                                                             and can easily be operated by well-trained local staff.
All these projects have had a strong economic, social        Bioethanol used in transport is already utilized in
                                                                                                                                                                                      Biogas treatment plant in Brazil. (Source: Castrolanda)
and environmental impact as they contributed (a) to          many places worldwide, while the use of bioethanol
8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               9
1                                                                                                                 1.3 Bioenergy and the Sustainable Development Goals

                                                                                                                              The following table shows how the development of bioenergy could contribute to achieving the SDGs.

STIMULATING THE BIOECONOMY                                                                                              Bioenergy offers small farmers the possibility to increase

IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND                                                                                             and diversify their crop production and generate additional

                                                                                                                        Through bioenergy projects and revenues, small farming
                                                                                                                        communities can have access to food, a better diet and im-
                                                                                                                        proved health conditions, and thus enjoy better standards
                                                                                                                        of living.

1.1 Sustainable bioeconomy
In 2016, with the support of the German government, the     6. Applying responsible and effective governance            The use of biofuels such as bioethanol can reduce
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations         mechanisms                                              indoor air pollution thanks to cleaner cooking.
(FAO) produced guidelines on sustainable bioeconomy         7. Implementing existing relevant knowledge and
development and established the International Sustain-          proven sound technologies and good practices and,
able Bioeconomy Working Group (ISBWG)[1]. These                 where appropriate, promoting research and
                                                                                                                        Vocational training and education in bioenergy raises the
principles consist of 10 key points in addressing the       8. innovation
                                                                                                                        level of knowledge and understanding of these technol-
following sustainability issues for the bioeconomy[2]:      9. Using and promoting sustainable trade and market
                                                                                                                        ogies and paves the way to new jobs, especially in areas
                                                                                                                        with increased bioenergy potential, such as rural areas.
1. Supporting food security and nutrition at all levels     10. Addressing societal needs and encouraging sustain-
2. Conserving, protecting and enhancing of natural              able consumption
   resources                                                11. Promoting cooperation, collaboration and sharing
3. Supporting competitive and inclusive economic                between interested and concerned stakeholders in        Improved practices have a positive impact on gender
   growth                                                       all relevant domains and at all relevant levels.        equality, as women could improve their income and status.
4. Making communities healthier, more sustainable
   and harnessing social and ecosystem resilience           These principles are applicable to all bioeconomy
5. Relying on improved efficiency in the use of             sectors, and are in line with the United Nations’ SDGs.
   resources and biomass                                                                                                Some bioenergy technologies, like biogas production,
                                                                                                                        specifically address the treatment of wastewater and help
                                                                                                                        reduce water pollution.
1.2 Bioenergy and bio-economy in DCs and LDCs
There is still an enormous global development potential     amounts of solid residues, which can either be used as
for bioenergy and the bioeconomy in DCs and LDCs. The       raw material in further downstream activities or as fuel    Biomass, biogas and bioethanol technologies help to

economies of these mostly tropical countries are still      (e.g. pellets, briquettes, package).                        provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and

strongly based on agriculture and forestry.                                                                             modern energy, particularly in LDCs.

                                                            Manure produced by cattle and pig farms can be con-
Food processing industries (rice mills, sugar mills, palm   verted into biogas that can be used for cooking, heating
oil mills, etc.) generate large quantities of solid and     and/or power generation.                                    Bioenergy helps add value to biomass and allows the develop-
liquid residues, which can be used as fuel.                                                                             ment of new activities and related jobs through the improvement
                                                                                                                        of existing practices; the introduction of innovative technologies
Forest and wood processing industries (sawmills, ply-                                                                   and the enhancement of infrastructure along the value chain.
wood/particle board factories) also generate significant

10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 11
1.4 Enabling policy environment
     The development of bioenergy projects in rural areas, close
     to biomass feedstock production, can contribute to the
     reduction of inequalities in less developed areas.            Over the last 50 years, bioenergy has received regular        Countries like Thailand established specific funds to
                                                                   policy and financial support from national governments,       support investments in bioenergy projects. As an exam-
                                                                   as well as technical assistance and funding from in-          ple, attractive electricity buy-back rates were offered for
                                                                   ternational organizations, but that support has been          biomass electricity sold to local utilities. This stimulated
     The management of organic waste via bioenergy conver-         fluctuating as it was mainly dependent on global fossil       the private sector to invest in high efficiency plants to
     sion is key to making cities and communities more accom-      fuel prices. During the oil crises of the 1970s and 80s,      optimize the use of their excess residues and generate
     modating and sustainable.                                     funds were provided to institutions to carry out research     additional revenues.
                                                                   and development on biomass combustion, gasification,
                                                                   digestion, torrefaction and densification technologies.       Currently, country-level support provided by govern-
     Production, promotion and consumption of biofuels con-                                                                      ments towards bioenergy is targeted at the production
     tribute to the improvement of the environment through the     Performant, environmentally friendly equipment was            and use of bioethanol for fuel blending. Incentives are
     reduction of fossil fuel consumption and the reuse of waste   developed to generate heat and/or power from straw,           required along the whole value chain, from biomass
     material generated by bioeconomy activities.                  wood wastes and other bio-residues to competitively           growers to final bioenergy consumers. Funding also
                                                                   substitute the use of fossil fuels. New products, such as     needs to be provided to bioenergy capacity-building pro-
                                                                   briquettes and pellets, appeared in both domestic and         grams and to research and development projects aimed
                                                                   international markets.                                        at developing innovative solutions to optimize the use
     Within the bioeconomy, the development of bioenergy
                                                                                                                                 of local bioresources.
     is one of the highest contributors to the mitigation of
                                                                   The implementation of successful demonstration pro-
     GHG emissions and carbon sequestration.
                                                                   jects using these innovative technologies helped build        Moreover, there must be an increase of focus on social
                                                                   the confidence of private investors, banks and financial      acceptance of biofuels through public information cam-
                                                                   institutions. In the meantime, the global fossil fuel mar-    paigns. Such measures should focus on the benefits of
     Bioenergy conversion of waste that would otherwise be         ket prices dropped and made these new technologies            fuel switching and the implementation of a sustainable
     discharged into rivers, canals and oceans can strongly        less attractive.                                              bioeconomy via the reduction of dependence on import-
     contribute to the preservation of aquatic life.                                                                             ed fossil fuels, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions,
                                                                   To keep some momentum in the bioenergy transition,            and stimulation of local economic growth and job
                                                                   some long-term support mechanisms and tools such as           creation, while maintaining food security and conserving
                                                                   renewable energy (RE) targets, tax exemptions and feed-       natural resources.
     The sustainable management of biological resources and        in-tariffs (FITs) for renewable electricity were required.
     the production and supply of biomass feedstock to bioen-
     ergy processes can help prevent land degradation.

                                                                   1.5 Bioenergy projects: success factors
     Bioenergy also supports rural communities through the
                                                                   Besides the compliance of bioenergy projects with the         •   acceptance            •   profitability
     creation of more equitable societies, which should gener-
                                                                   SDGs, it is also essential to look at the sustainability of   •   appropriateness       •   replicability
     ate more sustainable institutions.
                                                                   the project itself.                                           •   reliability           •   scalability
                                                                                                                                 •   affordability         •   environmental sustainabililty
                                                                   A comprehensive feasibility study must be carried out         •   bankability           •   sustainability.
     Many countries still face bioenergy implementation chal-
                                                                   and should include a feedstock availability study, a
     lenges. The exchange of experience and the creation of
                                                                   technology assessment analysis and a market survey            These often innovative commercial projects were imple-
     global partnerships can help bioenergy to keep growing
                                                                   for the products generated by the project. Lessons were       mented by the private sector. Private investors would
     steadily throughout the world.
                                                                   learned from the experience of the EC-ASEAN COGEN             only invest in proven technologies with a proper track
                                                                   Programme (1991-2005)[3], which aimed to support the          record in similar conditions. The project investment
Table 1: Bioenergy and the SDGs                                    implementation of clean and efficient biomass energy          level, its O&M costs, its generated revenues and savings
                                                                   projects in wood and agro-industries in Southeast Asia,       would determine its viability, level of profitability and
                                                                   including the following success factors:                      bankability.

12                                                                                                                                                                                         13
2                                                                                                                          O&M are essential but are often overlooked. Industrial
                                                                                                                                systems need well-trained personnel responsible for raw
                                                                                                                                material quality assurance, O&M, and servicing of the
                                                                                                                                                                                             heat and pellets) currently represents about 25% of the
                                                                                                                                                                                             income of the sawmilling industry, significantly increas-
                                                                                                                                                                                             ing its overall competitiveness compared with other
                                                                                                                                system. Their costs and the necessity of qualified per-      countries.
                                                                                                                                sonnel are often underestimated during project design.

BIOMASS AND                                                                                                                     Biomass projects are not the easiest to finance as banks
                                                                                                                                                                                             Biomass offers an excellent possibility for circular econ-
                                                                                                                                                                                             omy and for environmental balance due to its carbon

TECHNOLOGIES                                                                                                                    and financial institutions are not familiar with these
                                                                                                                                technologies and perceive them as riskier. The invest-
                                                                                                                                                                                             neutrality. It provides some additional income for differ-
                                                                                                                                                                                             ent groups like foresters, farmers, wood and food pro-
                                                                                                                                ment in biomass technologies, especially for larger          cessing industries and communities. Biomass projects
                                                                                                                                projects, is not as attractive as conventional projects      also offer the possibility for public participation (e.g.
                                                                                                                                due to higher investments and longer pay-back times.         farmers). The best examples are cooperatives running
                                                                                                                                Moreover, the sustainability of the biomass supply chain     district heating plants, where some projects have been
2.1 Introduction                                                                                                                is often questioned by financiers. On the other hand,        successfully operated for more than 30 years.
Solid biofuels are one of the most heterogeneous energy          Availability, quality and price of the raw material            biomass projects create jobs and generate revenues for
sources in the world due to their content and combus-            is probably the most important success factor. High            local populations, especially in rural and less developed    In DCs and LDCs, where biomass is traditionally used
tion behavior, and include firewood, processed firewood          resource potential assessed by an investor or user at          areas.                                                       for cooking, there are several negative aspects like the
like charcoal, forest and agricultural residues, and dung,       one time, does not imply that it will remain available in                                                                   overexploitation of resources and deforestation, as well
which are considered traditional household fuels in              the future. This is especially critical since investment in    In industrialized countries, the use and upgrade of          as domestic health and environmental problems due to
most DCs and LDCs.                                               biomass projects is rather large compared to other con-        waste, especially in wood industries, is of increasing im-   poor combustion.
                                                                 ventional systems. Logistic chains must be considered          portance as it boosts their profitability. A large sawmill
In Africa, solid biofuels cover more than 80% of the             as part of the supply cost. Raw material quality should        may operate a cogeneration plant to cover its heat and       A more sustainable alternative is the use of local bio-
energy demand, especially for cooking. On the contrary,          also be considered. This will depend on current and            power requirements, by using bark and other process          mass in modern, efficient and low-emission equipment
in developed countries like Austria, only around 30% of          future required quality of the final product. Pellets of low   residues. Heat is needed for timber-drying kilns and for     instead of conventional technologies. This would create
the total energy required for heating is provided by solid       international standards may be sold in the beginning,          pellet production where sawdust is the raw material.         local jobs and keep value added in the region mainly via
biofuels in different forms like logwood, wood chips and         but international trends show that the market demand           Both the combined heat and power (CHP) plant and the         small companies. As shown in the three case studies
pellets.                                                         will eventually be for best quality pellets.                   pellet production increase the income of the sawmill         presented further on, modern biomass appliances may
                                                                                                                                substantially. In Austria, energy from biomass (power,       lead to poverty reduction and more gender equality.
Most traditional biofuels are not processed, except for          Conversion technologies are manifold and cover an
size reduction and drying. The development of modern             unbeatable wide range starting from less than USD 12
(processed) biofuels suitable for automated equipment            for a cook stove to billions for a modern power plant.
started after the first oil crisis in the 1970s in the form of   Furthermore, price depends on suitability for different
wood chips. Wood chips are now widely used in district           fuels, emissions and efficiency. Highly efficient equip-
heating systems and industrial applications, including           ment that complies with regulations in some countries
power generation.                                                e.g. Germany, proving to generate/emit low emissions,
                                                                 is expensive. If efficiency and emission regulation is
Pellets, which are compressed biomass – usually made             less stringent, and manpower is available for a lower
out of industrial, agricultural and forestry residues, and       price, investors tend to use cheaper, more labor-inten-
energy crops – started being developed approximately             sive systems with drawbacks of lower availability, lower
30 years ago. They have spread worldwide as a new and            efficiency, higher emissions and often with higher safety
sustainable solid biofuel. As the first biofuel commodity,       hazards.
pellets are suitable for global commercial trade. They
can be used in small-scale (e.g. cook stoves, heating            In general, the combustion of solid biofuels is more
stoves) but also in medium-scale and large industrial            complex than the combustion of gaseous or liquid fuels,
applications.                                                    since solid fuels contain non-combustible fractions that
                                                                 can cause abrasion, slagging and fouling.
Despite biomass being used for at least 30 years, it re-
mains challenging to use it efficiently and sustainably.         Additionally, solid particle emissions and waste dispos-
Three critical success factors need to be considered:            al of residues must be considered. Thus, it is important
• availability, quality and price of the raw material,           that a proposed technology is fully proven and appropri-
• conversion technology, O&M, and                                ate for the target market. Some technologies that looked
• sustainability, including reforestation, carbon deple-         promising, such as biomass pyrolysis and gasification,                              White pellets from debarked wood and black pellets from torrefied wood. (Source: Futerra Fuels)
    tion and land use change.                                    have regularly failed because of their inappropriateness
                                                                 in a local context.
14                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   15
2.2 Case Study #1: Large-scale production of white and
                                                                                                                             2.2.2 Feedstock sourcing,
     black pellets – Futerra Fuels, Portugal[4]                                                                                    capacity, and plant layout

                                                                                                                            The municipality of Valongo provides access to             The developers designed a flexible hybrid pellet
                                                                                                                            600,000 tonnes of biomass feedstock. The raw               production plant, capable of simultaneously produc-
                                                                                                                            material consists of low-grade biomass resources           ing white and black pellets, with multiple lines to
                                                                                                                            coming from FSC-certified plantations within an area       ensure maximum capacity utilization. This makes the
                                                                                                                            of 50-100 km from the plant.                               feedstock sourcing, feedstock preparation, drying
                                                                                                                                                                                       and energy consumption more efficient.
                                                                                                                            The torrefaction lines are modular, compact and
                                                                                                                            semi-transportable. This makes the design suitable         From a market point of view, the plant can meet
                                                                                                                            for both small-scale and large-scale projects. The tor-    various client demands with respect to calorific value
                                                                                                                            refaction technology is based on the unique swirling       of the pellets but can always deliver white pellets
                                                                                                                            fluidized bed principle. The technology generates          if black pellet production is paused and vice versa.
                                                                                                                            a fast heat transfer from hot flue gases to the solid      The equipment layout allows for the pre-treatment
                                                                                                                            input material. This results in a continuous torrefac-     of some unusual raw materials such as tree stumps.
                                                                                                                            tion process, homogeneous quality and a clean final        The most critical requirements in the feedstock
                                                                                                                            product with the following characteristics:                preparation are the particle size and the moisture
                                                                                                                                •    low chlorine content,
                                                                                                                                •    hydrophobicity, i.e. high water resistance,
                                                                                                                                •    low emission levels of fine dust, sulphur ox-
                                                                                                                                     ides and nitrogen oxides,
                                                                                                                                                                                       2.2.3 Replicability
                                                                                                                                •    high calorific value of 19 to 22 GJ per tonne,
                                                                                                                                •    clean combustion with less pollution, resulting   The project has a high potential to be replicated in
                                                        Installation of drying/torrefaction unit. (Source: Futerra Fuels)            in a 10% increase in boiler performance,          DCs and LDCs as the plant serves as a blueprint for
                                                                                                                                •    strong shock resistance with very limited fines   pellet plant developers targeting commercial pro-
     2.2.1 Project background                                                                                                        production during transport and handling,         duction of black and white pellets with outputs of
                                                                                                                                •    zero waste production as dust and biomass         200,000 to 250,000 tonnes per annum. Given the
     One of Portugal’s industrial sectors is wood pellet         With torrefaction technologies gaining momentum                     waste are used for heat generation, and           system’s modularity, smaller plant sizes are also
     production. Portugal has significant forest resources       in the early 2000s, companies such as Futerra Fuels            •    the elimination of binding agents needed          feasible with a minimum capacity of 20,000 tonnes
     that can only be used for energy production as low-         were able to build on successful experiences in that                to pelletize yields a saving of +/- USD 12 per    per year. Six parallel torrefaction lines each produce
     grade biomass resources – including tops, limps,            field. After three years of research and study, Futerra             tonne in production costs.                        2.5 tonnes per hour, i.e. a total of 120,000 tonnes
     forest residues, remains from thinning and wildfires        Fuels was legally established in 2015 by Dutch and                                                                    per year.
     as well as material from short rotation crops (mainly       American investors with backgrounds in project             The torrefaction lines are also capable of processing
     Eucalyptus). Pellet production is the most efficient        finance, RE, energy trading and circular economies.        bagasse, grass and other agricultural and garden           Downscaling the plant allows the implementation of
     technology suitable for energy export. Therefore, pel-                                                                 waste. The swirling fluidized bed technology in            projects closer to the source of biomass feedstock
     let plants were built to mainly export to power plants      A pellet production project was initiated by Futerra       combination with the correct pre-treatment of the          and limits the need for transport of raw material and
     in Western and Northern Europe.                             Fuels International BV, which owns Futerra Torrefaçao      (herbaceous) biomass material leads to high-quality        pellets.
                                                                 e Tecnologia S.A. based in Valongo, Portugal.              black pellets.
     Some markets/customers required different pel-                                                                                                                                    The plant set-up can be replicated for greenfield pro-
     lets properties. Some customers asked for pellets           The project was implemented in two steps. A pilot          The plant capacity is as follows:                          jects like the Valongo plant or for retrofitting existing
     with higher energy content and high energy density          torrefaction line was first tested in the Netherlands                                                                 white pellet plants by adding modular torrefaction
     as found with conventional wood pellets (“white             in the second half of 2017 in order to validate the pro-   •       annual production of white (wood) pellets:         lines to existing plants, currently mainly in Northern
     pellets”). This led to the development of torrefaction      cess. The commercial plant was then built between                  85,000 tonnes,                                     America and Europe.
     and carbonization processes and development of              2019 and 2020 in Valongo, near Porto, Portugal, a          •       annual production of black (torrefied) pellets:
     “black pellets”. Besides a higher energy content,           strategic location with road and rail connections                  120,000 tonnes,
     black pellets have the advantage that they can be           to the ports of Leixões (16 km), Aveiro (70 km) and        •       onsite storage capacity: 18,000 tonnes, and
     processed with conventional coal technology in              Viana do Castelo (85 km).                                  •       loading capacity from site: 500 tonnes per hour.
     coal-fired power plants and they are partly weather
     resistant in outdoor storage.

16                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 17
2.2.4 Problems and solutions                                2.2.5 Lessons learned                                    2.3.1 Project background
     Commercially, securing investors and financiers for a     The plant design is based on units with an hourly ca-     Albania’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan             The UNIDO/GEF project started in 2014 and is expect-
     greenfield torrefaction plant has been very challeng-     pacity of 2.5 tonnes. Future torrefaction units will be   2015-2020[5] outlines the country’s target of in-           ed to be completed in 2021.
     ing since most torrefaction projects have been una-       container-based designs and scaled-up to 6 tonnes         creasing the final energy consumption by 38% with
     ble to reach commercial scale for the past 15 years.      per hour (45,000 t/a), with containers assembled          renewable energy sources by 2020. Meanwhile, The            Albania is one of the Mediterranean countries with
     Moreover, the development of large torrefaction           on site. By doing so, the plants can be tested in         National Energy Strategy 2018-2030[6] highlights that       optimal conditions for olive oil production. However,
     plants is considered a risky business by off-takers       the Netherlands before being shipped and require          Albania has substantial biomass potential from agri-        olive oil producers in Albania lack access to adequate
     and investors. The founders had to provide a large        less supplier presence on site for the start-up of the    cultural residues, estimated at 2,300 GWh per year.         technologies and have limited rural infrastructure
     percentage of equity portion of the USD 13 million        plant.                                                                                                                (e.g. roads). This has led to high production costs
     investment.                                                                                                         Biomass is widely used in Albania, predominantly            and low margins. This project aimed to trigger invest-
                                                               Based on its experience, Futerra is creating a fran-      in the form of firewood. The production and use of          ment in waste-to-energy projects in the olive industry
     Technical problems included the fact that parame-         chise model with an integrated package of technol-        processed wood fuels such as pellets and briquettes         through demonstration, development of appropriate
     ters of the swirling fluidized bed torrefaction reactor   ogy, offtake and know-how. This will lower the risks      increased in the last few years.                            financial instruments, capacity building and strength-
     required re-engineering and adjustments because of        and barriers for new plant developers who want to                                                                     ening of the policy and regulatory environment.
     the diversity of the raw materials used in the plant. A   enter this promising new market.                          Agro-industrial residues are considered a suitable
     way to solve that problem is to homogenize the qual-                                                                source of biomass for energy, but their use faces           Through its focus on development of appropriate
     ity through pre-treatment. The unloading point from                                                                 limitations because of their seasonality and their          financial, regulatory and policy instruments, the
     the reactor towards the pelletizers is a self-designed                                                              need to be collected, transported and pre-treated           project aimed at implementing 15 bioenergy pilot
     solution keeping out oxygen to prevent fires and/or                                                                 before being converted to energy e.g. olive tree or         projects with an indicative capacity of 1,000 – 1,500
     explosions. Another solution is to treat the pellets in                                                             vine pruning.                                               kWth. More than 40 companies were evaluated by
     a way that would reduce the formation of dust during                                                                                                                            financial institutions, with the support of four banks.
     pellet logistics and storage.                                                                                       Based on the national goals to increase energy from         Feasibility studies were prepared. Several enterprises
                                                                                                                         biomass, UNIDO in cooperation with GEF and the              are (still) negotiating with financial institutions for
                                                                                                                         Albanian Government developed a project to promote          co-financing of their respective projects.
                                                                                                                         the use of different agro-industrial residues, includ-
     2.3 Case Study #2: Olive oil sector as a bioenergy 			                                                              ing olive mill residues.                                    Besides UNIDO, four ministries, three universities,
     supplier in Albania                                                                                                                                                             national agencies, NGOs, SMEs, technology suppliers
                                                                                                                         The main objective was to demonstrate bioenergy             and financial institutions are involved in this project.
                                                                                                                         conversion technology applications through the
                                                                                                                         implementation of successful projects in targeted
                                                                                                                         small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the olive oil

                                                                                                                            2.3.2 Example 1: Implementation of bioenergy in an olive oil factory
                                                                                                                            Olive oil production consists of three major steps: (a) olive washing, (b) olive crushing, and (c) separa-
                                                                                                                            tion of oil and pomace (by presses). Pomace is one of the main residues of the olive oil industry. It can
                                                                                                                            be burnt directly in boilers or may be converted into pellets or briquettes for use in boilers and stoves.
                                                                                                                            In both cases, olive pomace must be dried.

                                                                                                                            For olive oil production, energy is required to heat the water needed for the crushing process. This
                                                                                                                            energy is now produced by a new biomass boiler using the mill pomace. The boiler also heats the
                                                                                                                            factory and the house of the factory owner. Excess pomace is sold to a pellet producer. According to the
                                                                                                                            president of the Albanian olive oil association, energy savings of 60% are possible within the olive oil
                                                                                                                            factory. Particle emissions are significantly reduced as the new biomass boilers are more efficient than
                                                                                                                            traditional systems and are equipped with flue gas cleaning cyclones.

                                          Combustion system for dried olive pomace in an olive factory. (Source: BEA)

18                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              19
2.4 Case Study #3: Biomass/charcoal briquettes in
           2.3.3 Example 2: Substitution of diesel heat generators at a farm

           Two diesel heating systems (burners for greenhouse) were replaced by modern biomass systems
           (grate-fired biomass boilers) using dried pomace instead of diesel to heat a greenhouse at a tomato
           farm. With cheaper and more reliable heat generation, the plants grow much faster, and their yield
           has increased by 40%.

           The largest part of the tomato production is exported to Germany, where it arrives without having
           to be frozen. Being fresh and branded as organic produce, tomatoes can be sold at premium price.
           Moreover, the farmer will now have three harvests per year instead of two. The long-term plans
           include installing more biomass boilers in his seven other greenhouses, which still do not have a
           heating system. The new boiler investment was around USD 85,000. The farmer could only afford
           them thanks to the support by the UNIDO/GEF project development.

      2.3.4 Lessons learned

     Agro-industries in Albania, especially in the olive oil     The legislation must be adapted to include equip-
     and fruit processing sectors, produce large quantities      ment quality and efficiency requirements. Therefore,
     of biomass residues that can be used as fuels. Before       it is recommended to establish and implement a
     this rather broad UNIDO/GEF project, there was little       QI system, with an incentive program, a monitoring                                                                              Charcoal briquette drying. (Source: GBE)
     public awareness on the production and possible             system and the necessary infrastructure, including
     uses of pellets as fuels. The organization of site visits   testing, certification, accreditation and mechanisms
     and workshops to reference projects helped raise            for market surveillance.                                    2.4.1 Project background
                                                                 Practitioner training should include the training of
                                                                                                                             In Uganda’s rural areas, there are not many alter-      manufacturers supply peri- urban and urban centers.
     Since there was no equipment available in Albania,          key stakeholders on (a) best international standards
                                                                                                                             natives to wood and charcoal for cooking food in        Carbonized briquettes are the main product, using
     it had to be imported. A key for success is that the        (b) the new regulatory framework, and (c) standards
                                                                                                                             households. Historically, charcoal and firewood have    charcoal powder as the raw material. They are sold to
     imported equipment must be fully proven and relia-          and certifications for technical staff of public entities
                                                                                                                             been a cheap and accessible source of fuel, but its     households, refugee camps, roadside food ven-
     ble, i.e. certified according to international technical    in charge of formulating the policy and regulatory
                                                                                                                             use has become unsustainable, as forests are            dors, poultry farmers and institutional consumers.
     standards. Training programs must be organized to           framework.
                                                                                                                             depleted.                                               Non-carbonized briquettes are sold to brick factories,
     make sure that the new equipment is properly
                                                                                                                                                                                     cement industries and as cooking fuel to restaurants,
                                                                                                                             In that context, biomass briquettes have emerged        schools and hospitals as they can substitute wood
                                                                                                                             as one of the top three East African energy products,   without modification of their stoves.
                                                                                                                             with Uganda witnessing the greatest concentration
                                                                                                                             of briquette producers. Briquettes can be produced      Briquettes, especially those from carbonized bi-
                                                                                                                             from resources other than wood and as a commercial      omass, can be made from a large variety of forest
                                                                                                                             product they can be transported to the customers. Al-   and agriculture residues. These residues may be
                                                                                                                             though many individual companies are rather small,      sawdust, rice husks, rice straw, coffee husks, cotton
                                                                                                                             some businesses are getting larger as they work with    seed hulls, maize cobs, banana fibers, cotton stalks
                                                                                                                             local microenterprises.                                 and others. Usually, they are sourced locally from
                                                                                                                                                                                     contracted farmers. Some residues are readily avail-
                                                                                                                             The briquette market in Uganda consists of four         able on the local market from large commercial farms
                                                                                                                             segments: the domestic, institutional, industrial and   and agro-processing factories.
                                                                                                                             export markets. The majority of briquette

20                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            21
2.4.2 Example 2: Green Bio Energy[7]

     Green Bio Energy (GBE) buys carbonized organic residues from surrounding communities produced
     with GBE carbonizing kilns and transports them to a central facility where they are ground, pressed into
     briquettes and dried. In parallel, GBE produces improved cookstoves that can burn charcoal or uncar-
     bonized briquettes in a more efficient way.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Charcoal briquettes. (Source: Divine Bamboo)
     In 2010, GBE started building a prototype of a mechanized briquette press. By January 2011, the compa-
     ny began to carbonize organic waste and sell briquettes in surrounding communities. With grants from            2.4.4 Economic, social and
     Engie, a French utility, and from MIT’s Harvest Fuel Initiative, they fine-tuned their process and moved to           environmental impacts of
     a site about 30 km outside of Kampala to begin full-scale production.                                                 biomass /charcoal briquettes

     All GBE machinery is made in Uganda, making it easier to provide any assistance for maintenance and            The development and improvement of biomass pro-          especially for women and young people all along the
     follow-up. This includes briquetting presses, carbonizing kilns, mixers, crushers and dryers. Equipment        jects and technology have led to an overall improve-     charcoal briquettes value chain. The project has
     is designed with stringent requirements in terms of reliability, efficiency, and safety.                       ment in terms of economic, social and environmental      brought together social groups that are now working
                                                                                                                    aspects.                                                 towards a common financial stability.

                                                                                                                    Economic                                                 As part of the social mission of the GBE, all pieces
                                                                                                                    The projects have provided new job opportunities to      of equipment are produced locally. GBE invested in
                                                                                                                    local communities and generated income through           building partnerships with local workshops to design
                                                                                                                    carbonization and charcoal briquettes production.        and manufacture all the machines required in the
     2.4.3 Example 2: Divine Bamboo[8]                                                                              In turn, this has improved households’ standard of       briquetting process. Local workshops gained par-
                                                                                                                    living as well as improving their nutrition since they   ticularly useful engineering knowledge and received
                                                                                                                    can afford a more balanced diet.                         work contracts and revenue thanks to the machinery
     Established and incorporated in 2016, Divine Bamboo has become the largest producer of bamboo                                                                           orders GBE made.
     seedlings in Uganda, with a capacity of 100,000 seedlings annually.                                            As charcoal briquettes burn longer and are (some-
                                                                                                                    times) cheaper than charcoal, each household using       In the Divine Bamboo project, the major social com-
     Divine Bamboo provides clean cooking fuel in the form of high-quality charcoal briquettes produced             charcoal briquettes with improved cook stoves saves      ponent is the empowerment of rural smallholding
     from local bamboo, grown by local farmers as additional product specifically for energy purposes on            on their cooking fuel bill. Users reported that an im-   farmers, with a special focus on women and youth.
     sustainable bamboo plantations in Uganda. The company trains rural women groups and youth to plant             proved stove is paid back within a month or two.         350 farmers and 205 youth were trained in bamboo
     bamboo, providing them with seedlings and access to biomass technologies. This gives them the op-                                                                       planting and briquette production. This helped
     portunity to produce bamboo briquettes, which simultaneously provides additional income, meets their           In the case of the GBE project, 500 tonnes of bri-       reduce poverty and gender inequality and increased
     in- house fuel needs and contributes to protecting the environment.                                            quettes and 4,800 stoves were distributed every year     income. Moreover, women and girls are less exposed
                                                                                                                    between 2016 and 2018. The business expanded             to gender-based violence.
     The technological component involves the use of efficient and improved conversion technologies to              with the inclusion of a network of micro-entrepre-
     carbonize bamboo. The technologies used include:                                                               neurs to test the potential market in Eastern, Western   Environmental
                                                                                                                    and Central regions of Uganda.                           90% of agricultural leftovers in Uganda’s towns are
     •   a drum carbonizer, which is a simple and easy-to-fabricate carbonizer with a lid and an inner cone                                                                  currently treated as waste and left to rot. Rotting
         to which a chimney is attached. The drum carbonizer costs about USD 100, has an efficiency of 20-          Both projects involve the use of efficient and im-       waste can contaminate rivers, ground water, or food
         22% and a capacity of 20 kg of dry biomass. Generally, the technology is about 40% more efficient          proved carbonization technologies for either biomass     meant for human consumption. What’s more, Ugan-
         than conventional conversion technology;                                                                   residues or bamboo. The carbonizing equipment is         da remains at risk of losing most of its forest cover if
     •   a retort, which is a built carbonizer consisting of a cavity wall, a lid, a grate, a chimney with an air   cheap as its design is simple. In the case of Divine     nothing is done to identify alternatives to tree-based
         control mechanism and an outlet where the char is collected. The technology has a capacity of one          Bamboo, it costs about USD 100.                          charcoal and firewood energy sources.
         to two tonnes of dry biomass, and costs about USD 1,220. Its efficiency is very high and estimated
         at 35-40%.                                                                                                 Social                                                   The engagement of converting biomass waste into
                                                                                                                    These projects have a strong social impact on family     charcoal briquettes is a strong move towards the
                                                                                                                    well-being through the creation of new jobs,             mitigation of GHG emissions.

22                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      23
CASE #1:                     CASE #2:                CASE #3:
                                                                                                                                              LARGE-SCALE PRODUCTION       OLIVE OIL SECTOR AS     BIOMASS/CHARCOAL
     GBE help reduce deforestation by substituting char-       tial impact on the household budget for cooking fuel,          DEVELOPMENT
                                                                                                                                              OF WHITE & BLACK PELLETS –   BIOENERGY SUPPLIER IN   BRIQUETTES IN UGANDA
     coal and firewood with briquettes made of organic         and therefore, on the economic, social and environ-            GOALS (SDGs)
                                                                                                                                              FUTERRA FUELS                ALBANIA
     materials, mainly from agro-industries. Briquettes        mental well-being of relatively poor populations.
     produce a much cleaner combustion than fuelwood
     and charcoal, hence reducing respiratory problems,
                                                               Briquetting equipment is generally basic, should be
                                                               locally manufactured, especially for small production
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
     cancer and cardiovascular diseases.                       sites, and should be reliable and easy to operate after

     Divine Bamboo created awareness about bamboo as
                                                               some training of the operators. However, there is still
                                                               a significant potential for improving, replicating and
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
     a sustainable climate-smart energy alternative. Bam-      upscaling the technology.
     boo plantations sequester over 2,000 tonnes of CO2/                                                                                                                                                    
     ha/year and do not require fertilizers or pesticides.     Key challenges such as a need for technology im-
                                                               provement must be addressed to support the growth
     2.4.5 Lessons learned                                     of the briquette market in Uganda. Such improve-                                                                                               
                                                               ments can help increase the production and quality
     The key for success is mainly the management and          of briquettes. The sustainability of the biomass
     organization of the supply chain, from the production     feedstock quantity and price, the briquette produc-                                                                                            
     and collection of sufficient raw material, its purchase   tion cost and the access to finance will need to be
     at a fair price and its conversion into a final product   carefully looked at and secured to expand the use of
     that is attractive enough to be sold in a competitive     briquettes throughout the country for the best of the                                                                                        
     market. Small price differences can have a substan-       urban, peri-urban and rural populations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            
2.5         Biomass and the Sustainable Development Goals
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
As shown in Table 2, the three case studies address            carbon emissions, thus greater health and well-being
most SDGs. Evidently, biomass projects supply clean            (SDG 3). The local design and manufacturing of biomass
and renewable energy. This is in the form of heat, power       technologies helps develop industrial competence and                                                                                         
or fuel for cooking, which can directly or indirectly make     infrastructure (SDG 9). This requires specific training
energy more affordable for rural populations (SDG 7).          in engineering (SDG 4). Modern biomass technologies
Sustainable energy is also supplied to cities, making          create jobs in agriculture, forestry, raw material and fuel                                                                                  
human settlements more resilient (SDG 11). Given that          production and fuel distribution (SDG 8). One case study
forests and crops are managed sustainably, these
projects ensure sustainable production patterns (SDG
                                                               focuses specifically on women’s employment (SDG 5).
                                                               Stable income from these jobs and affordable energy
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
12) and crop yields (SDG 2), restore and promote the           reduces poverty where these projects take place (SDG 1).
sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15), and
contribute to carbon savings to combat climate change
                                                               In turn, this reduces inequalities as there is a growth in
                                                               income for farmers and rural populations (SDG 10).
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
(SDG 13). The latter results in less pollution and black
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
2.6 Success factors and challenges
Since there is such a wide variety of options for the use      The use of proven technology is extremely important –         Table 2: Biomass and the SDGs
of biomass, the selection of the best technology for a         biomass projects are long-term investments where the
region, a company, a community or simply a household           quality of the implemented technology is key. Saving
can be very challenging and requires a careful evalua-         on investment cost is short-sighted and often leads to
tion of the most appropriate solutions.                        project failure.

A key parameter for a successful biomass project is the        Due to the high investment required, financial support
availability of sufficient and proper quality raw material     (grants, soft loans, incentives) is still a valid option to
over the project lifetime. Another challenge is maintain-      increase the number of projects in DCs and LDCs. There
ing the sustainability of the supply while balancing bio-      are too many examples of failed projects despite finan-
mass reserves, including a rational use of arable lands,       cial support from international organizations. There is
reforestation, best use of residues and stable prices.         a need to systematically check the factors that can lead
                                                               projects to success and avoid mistakes that were made
24                                                             in the past.                                                                                                                                               25
3                                                                                                                     3.2 Case Study #1: Waste from food processing for
                                                                                                                           captive power – biogas from avocado waste in Kenya [9]


3.1 Introduction
Biogas production is a natural process that occurs in          It was reported that, in some DCs or LDCs, more than
swamps and in cow paunch. Biogas is produced by                70% of the biogas plants work below their original rated
breaking down organic matter in an anaerobic (oxygen           specifications. The main reasons for such underper-
free) environment. It contains about 55% methane, 45%          formance are:
carbon dioxide and some traces of other gases. Methane
is the energy carrier. It is possible to technically upgrade   •   too high capex,                                                                                                  Biogas from avocado waste in Kenya. (Source: Olivado)
the biogas to more than 95% of methane, bringing it            •   sound financing not available,
to an energy content comparable to natural gas. Biom-          •   unreliable feedstock supply,
ethane can be used as fuel for electricity and/or heat         •   fluctuating feedstock price,
                                                                                                                           3.2.1 Project background
generation, for cooking and for transport.                     •   poor management,
                                                               •   political instability,                                  Located in Murang’a County in Kenya, Olivado EPZ          The biogas is used in a CHP plant with a total thermal
Setting up and running a successful biogas project             •   unreliable off-takers,                                  Limited sources organic avocados from local farmers.      capacity of 931 kWth and electricity generation capac-
requires a combination of factors: careful project design      •   lack of qualified staff,                                The fruits are either exported to Europe or processed     ity of 400 kWel. Additionally, there is a biogas bottling
and management by experienced/skilled engineers and            •   technical and/or biological problems during operation   into avocado oil. The company is the number one           plant where the methane concentration of the biogas
technical staff, strong bio-technological know-how and         •   poor technical and biological design.                   organic avocado oil producer, with 90% of the global      is increased to 97% before being bottled. With a 97%
secured financing.                                                                                                         organic extra-virgin avocado oil production. The          methane content, the biomethane can be used to
                                                               Turning waste from food production or agriculture into      conversion of process residues, such as skins, stones     fuel the company’s vehicles.
The following are ideal pre-conditions for industrial          energy is not just a source of green renewable energy.      and wastewater, covers all energy needs of the facto-
scale biogas plants to be implemented in DCs and LDCs:         It can have a much broader impact, as it:                   ry (electricity and heat). The project implementation     The digestate is separated into two phases: a solid
                                                                                                                           took three years from its conceptualization to its        digestate used as organic fertilizer and a liquid di-
•    The feedstock for biogas production is free of charge     •   prevents pollution of groundwater,                      commissioning in 2020.                                    gestate recycled back into the mixing tank to inocu-
     without any competing use (or might even come             •   solves a waste disposal problem and its related                                                                   late the fresh feedstock.
     with a discharge/tipping fee);                                costs,                                                  3.2.2 Technical details
•    The existing production of energy is fluctuating, i.e.    •   reduces greenhouse gas emissions by mitigating
     unreliable. Additional electricity production from            methane emissions,                                                                                                 3.2.3 Input and output
                                                                                                                           The biogas plant consists of two digesters with a
     diesel - generating sets is expensive, i.e. 0.2 USD/      •   provides organic fertilizers,
                                                                                                                           capacity of 1,400m³ of substrate each. There is a         The feedstock input is about 3,600 tonnes per year.
     kWh and over.                                             •   uses untapped resources,
                                                                                                                           double-membrane gas holder on top of each digester        It comprises 1,200 t avocado skins and stones and
                                                               •   creates jobs and value at regional (mostly rural)
                                                                                                                           to store the biogas. Biogas can be stored and consti-     2,400 t of oil-free pulp.
Combining both points can result in projects with                  level.
                                                                                                                           tute a buffer in case of fluctuations in production or
payback periods of two to four years, without taking all
                                                                                                                           demand. The plant was designed to produce 3,500           From the biogas output, about 410,000 kWhel of elec-
other benefits into consideration. An ideal biogas plant
                                                                                                                           Nm³ of biogas per day.                                    tricity and 200,000 kWhth of thermal power can be
generates a continuous amount that is turned into heat
and electricity (cogeneration). People can benefit from                                                                                                                              produced annually. As a result, the plant can cover
                                                                                                                           The feedstock comes directly from the processing          the complete captive power of the avocado process-
cheap energy, job creation and by-products such as
                                                                                                                           plant. The avocado seeds are crushed; the pulp            ing, cooling facilities and packaging. The thermal
fertilizers, cleaner rivers, lakes or soils, while reducing
                                                                                                                           and green process water are then pumped into a 24         power is mainly used for process water heating.
bad smells.
                                                                                                                           m³ mixing tank. The feedstock is then fed into the

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