Opportunities for biomass-derived "bio-oil" in European heat and power markets

J. G. Brammer*, M. Lauer, A. V. Bridgwater

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bio-oil (biomass fast pyrolysis) systems for heat, power or CHP production are nearing demonstration status. Their commercial attractiveness will depend on many factors, and will vary with the application, the scale, and importantly the location and its associated economic and logistical factors. The objective of this work, carried out as part of an EC-ALTENER project, was to evaluate the opportunities for bio-oil in the heat and power markets of Europe. Bio-oil applications were compared with conventional (fossil) alternatives for the same heat and power duty. The evaluation was carried out by a quantitative assessment of the economic competitiveness of standard applications in 14 European countries. Location-specific data were collected, and combined with technology-specific data obtained from earlier work. A competitiveness factor (cF) was derived which represents the total annual cost of a conventional alternative relative to a bio-oil application. The results showed a wide variation across Europe. A total of six countries had at least one bio-oil application which was economically competitive. Heat-only applications were found to be the most economically competitive, followed by CHP applications, with electricity-only applications only very rarely competitive. For a given technology, the larger the scale, the better the competitiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2871-2880
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006


  • Bio-oil
  • Competitiveness
  • Pyrolysis


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