09.2022 - 12.2022

Sustainability of woody biomass

“Sustainability code for the use of biomass in Tiefstack” and accompanying study for the project

As part of the energy transition, it is necessary to provide climate-neutral electricity and design heat generation accordingly. District heating networks play a significant role. With efficient central plants based on waste heat and renewable energies, households can be supplied with heat, especially in densely populated areas. One component of a sustainable heat supply is the use of woody biomass. However, since this is a limited resource, it is relevant for district heating suppliers to have policies that enable sustainable biomass sourcing.

Hamburger Energiewerke (HEnW) operates one of Germany’s largest district heating networks, for which sustainable woody biomass represents a potential fuel for a secure and sustainable heat supply in the context of transformation. Together with the HEnW and the Hamburg Authority for Environment, Climate, Energy, and Agriculture (BUKEA), the FfE, supported by von Bredow Valentin Herz Rechtsanwälte, analyzed the status quo of existing studies and legal requirements on the sustainability of woody biomass. Based on this, the accompanying study developed and supported a sustainability code for the procurement of woody biomass used for energy.

The accompanying study addresses various aspects related to the use of woody biomass. This includes an overview of the types and current uses of biomass as well as a summary of the current and future potentials of woody biomass for energy use as estimated in scientific literature.

In addition, the current state of discussions about the energetic use of woody biomass will be addressed, and these will then be scientifically classified.

With its defined criteria, the Sustainability Code intends to support the purchasing department in the procurement of sustainable biomass, as well as to provide HEnW’s customers and other stakeholders with certainty that the biomass procured by HEnW is subject to the appropriate criteria for sustainable use.

The preparation of the contents of the Sustainability Code and the accompanying study took place in close coordination and discussion with HEnW and BUKEA. For the development of the sustainability criteria, which the biomass used in the future must fulfill, the criteria mentioned in various certificates for sustainable biomass were integrated in addition to the legal requirements (e.g., RED II). In addition, the FfE had an exchange with suppliers of industrial pellets and wood chips to include the feasibility of the requirements in practice.