The UK government has launched its Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator, which will enable UK bioenergy producers to “fairly and consistently” report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to Government. The application was developed in conjunction with the National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials (NNFCC).
The UK Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator was developed for calculating the GHG savings from solid biomass and biogas used to generate heat and electricity, and covers every step from feedstock production through to energy generation. This will enable bioenergy generators and other interested stakeholders to analyse the life cycle emissions from bioenergy using different feedstocks, production processes and transport methods.
Lucy Hopwood, Head of Biomass and Biogas at the NNFCC, who helped develop the tool said, "This new tool will help bioenergy generators to report their emissions consistently and fairly to Ofgem, as required by the Renewables Obligation."
The Renewables Obligation is the main support mechanism for large-scale renewable electricity in the UK, including biomass electricity. Generators of renewable electricity are issued Renewable Obligation Certificates for the energy they make. These can then be sold to energy suppliers so they can meet their mandatory renewable energy targets.
"The tool is fully compatible with the Renewable Energy Directive methodology for calculating GHG emissions, taking account of the recommendations set out by the European Commission in their report on sustainability requirements for solid and gaseous biomass," added Hopwood.
Reporting GHG emissions to Ofgem becomes mandatory for all bioenergy generators above 1MW from April 2012, but with no financial implications. Then from April 2013 generators above 1MW must achieve GHG savings of over 60 per cent (compared to fossil equivalents) if they are to receive financial support for the renewable energy they generate.
The NNFCC helped the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Environment Agency to develop the UK Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator, and E4tech have designed, created and populated the tool with support from generators, trade associations and representatives from the farming, forestry and waste sectors. The NNFCC says that a review of the calculator is ongoing, so if you have any queries or suggestions please contact them.
[Photo inset: Didcot power station (Oxfordshire, England), a 2-GW, dual-fired power station which generates electricity using coal, gas and biomass]