WP2: Identifying and assessing market opportunities, biomass potential, technologies and business models for circular bioeconomy development

Three reports were published in work package 2 (WP2). The reports are summarised below.

A2.1: Analysis of market outlook and future viability of different bioenergy products and value chains in the Baltic Sea Region energy system

As part of the 2.1 activity, a report (link) on market outlook and future viability of different bioenergy products was produced by Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO).

Activity Leader:

Birger Vennesland

Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)


The report describes the development of bioenergy in the Baltic Sea Region, barriers and drivers for increased bioenergy use and analyses future biomass use. The analysis of biomass use in heat and power plants is based on the energy system model Balmorel that covers the North European power and heat market. To assess the use of biomass in heating and the main opportunities to increase the use of biomass for heating in the Baltic region, a survey among the project partners was carried out. Initiatives for production of advanced biofuels were also mapped in the study.

The share of renewables in the gross final energy consumption has increased steadily in the Baltic region over the last decade. The use of biomass has increased by close to 40%. Solid biofuels constitute 2/3 of the biomass use, but the production of biogas has increased more than 200% and is currently about 15% of the bioenergy consumption in the region.

The use of biomass in the energy sector is expected to increase due to the reduced use of fossil fuels. Increased use of biomass in district heating and biofuels for transport represents important opportunities for growing use of bioenergy in the Baltic Sea Region. The utilisation of biomass and wood chips is increasing with growing carbon prices. Most of the biomass is used if the carbon price is high in 2030, while the lowest amount of biomass is used if the carbon price is low in 2040.

The most dominant biomass used for production of heat and electricity in the Baltic Sea Region is wood chips used for district heating. The level of consumed wood chips is heavily dependent on the carbon price. The usage of biogas increases both with year and carbon price. Pyrolysis oil is only used as a peak load for heat production in 2020. Biogas is increasingly used when the carbon price increases. Initiatives to produce second generation biofuels for transport from lingo-cellulotic feedstock is likely to increase the use of biomass in the transport sector.

Consumption of biomass in the industry sector represents the largest uncertainty in future biomass demand. In the metallurgical industry carbon also represent important opportunities for increased biomass use. Targeted incentives are required to ensure economic sustainability for increased use of biomass in the energy sector in the Baltic Sea Region. Increased costs for emission of carbon from fossil fuels imply increased use of biomass, especially in district heating and represent thus a low hanging fruit for reduced greenhouse gas emissions in many countries. Carbon costs, regulations, incentives and knowledge are needed for increased biomass use in the region. Biofuels for transport will continue to be based on agricultural products the next decade, but establishment of second generation biofuel plants is likely to gradually influence the biofuel market.

A2.2: Mapping of biomass value chains for improved sustainable energy use in the Baltic Sea Region

As part of the 2.2 activity, a report (link) on biomass value chains for sustainable energy use was produced by University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn (UWM).

Activity leader:

Mariusz Jerzy Stolarski

University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn (UWM)


In the 2.2 report, biomass potential and bioenergy technologies in the Baltic Sea Region countries were defined. It was found that Baltic Sea Region (BSR) countries were characterised by a high share of woodlands and agricultural land. They produced large amount of wood and agricultural biomass, particularly Germany and Poland. BSR countries had a high share of pellets production in the EU. Denmark by far used the largest amounts of pellets for energy production. Germany is the leader among the BSR countries in terms of the amount of bioenergy produced in each sector and it has the largest number of biogas plants and experience in this sector. Estonia has the largest share of biomass in the total of residential heat production. Latvia and Finland have the highest share of biomass in the gross inland energy consumption. Sweden and Lithuania have the highest rates of total biomass in the total derived heat production. Poland ranks second in terms of the number of biogas plants, biofuel installed capacity and primary production and the number of pellet plants. Norway has the largest share of renewable waste in gross electricity generation from biomass.

Additional to the report, two articles were published in international journals with an impact factor:

1.Stolarski M.J., Warmiński K., Krzyżaniak M., Olba–Zięty E., Akincza M. 2020. Bioenergy technologies and biomass potential vary in northern European countries. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 133, 110238, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2020.110238 (IF: 12.110).

2.Stolarski M.J., Dudziec P., Krzyżaniak M., Olba-Zięty E. 2021. Solid biomass energy potential as a development opportunity for rural communities. Energies, 14, 3398. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123398. (IF: 3.004).

A2.3: Preparation of good practice business models and example small and medium scale pilot business projects for sustainable bioenergy and side bio-products production in the Baltic Sea Region

As part of the 2.3 activity, a report (link) on good practice business models was produced by Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU).

Activity leader:

Ants-Hannes Viira

Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU)


Collecting 59 cases of real-life enterprises enabled the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU) to develop 12 clusters of bioeconomy enterprises and describe their underlying business models. The 20 business case narratives help to understand the motivation of the entrepreneurs, as well as enabling factors and barriers in developing business in the bioeconomy. We learned that the businesses and business models in the bioeconomy are very diverse, require high entrepreneurial abilities and also collaboration with biomass producers, local communities and authorities, research and development organisations and other businesses in the international value chains. Each of the business models has the potential to open up new ideas and discussions among the entrepreneurs, regional organisations and at the governmental level. All these finding were presented in the 2.3 report.

In cooperation with the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs, and Estonian University of Life Sciences a seminar on biogas production in agriculture was organised in early 2020. The BalticBiomass4Value project helped to raise interest and awareness in this topic, which was follow-up in various discussions and seminars. The project allowed us to better understand the interests of Estonian agricultural and food producers – what are the main bio-based resources produced as a by-product, what bio-based resources are they interested in utilising and adding value, are these resources currently being utilised etc. This allowed a targeted approach on the business consultation-matchmaking meetings.

As a result, a number of farmers have become more deeply interested in biogas production and valorisation of the side streams. The BalticBiomass4Value project has also created a network of experts and colleagues who can reach out to each other and answer the questions of practitioners.