On 6 – 8 September, Heather Wray, TNO, gave a plenary presentation at the WASTES conference in Coimbra, Portugal. The title of the talk was “The Role of Biomass Wastes in the Energy and Materials Transition” and included information about GOLDs research.
A summary of the presentation is as follows: For the energy and materials transition, biomass resources and feedstocks will play an important role. However, these biomass resources must be sustainable, meaning they must have low greenhouse gas emissions over their lifecycle, not harm ecosystems and biodiversity, not compete with land for food production or result in land use change. Sustainable biomass resources can therefore be grouped into two categories: 1) biomass wastes, and 2) energy crops grown on degraded or marginal lands. The amount of sustainable biomass from these sources is limited and unlikely to increase in the future, therefore we must prioritize the best use cases for the sustainable biomass available for energy and materials applications. The GOLD project provides an excellent example of sustainable biomass produced from growing energy crops on contaminated land, simultaneously cleaning the soil and producing biomass for the production of biofuels which can be used in hard-to-electrify sectors as part of the energy transition.