How biomass can help us properly use carbon dioxide emissions

Bucharest, October 7th, 2022 - The Climate Change Summit event took place in Bucharest between October 4th and 5th and during the two days event, many speakers, including politicians and executives from various companies, addressed the climate change issue and came with possible solutions on how we can be more resilient to these events and overcome them.

Marieke van der Werf, Partner at Droge & van Drimellen, presented the "Biomass, biogene carbon and negative emissions" panel, talking about how the use of biomass can help us achieve our sustainability goals.

She started by saying "there are solutions that might speed up the possibility to compensate climate change and biomass can be one of those."

One byproduct of using bioenergy for our daily necessities, such as generating electricity or heating our homes, is carbon dioxide, which we need for making various products.

"Carbon is an element that we need, we need it for products, it is the feedstock for plants, we need it for fuel, synthetic fuels, but we also need to get rid of it" van der Werf explained.

"Well, let's get rid of it, by using it or store it, of course", she added. This thing can be achieved through things like direct air capture technologies.

Direct air capture implies using a device with a specialized filter, which can suck in air and retain the carbon inside, while the clean air is released back into the atmosphere.

Once captured, that carbon can be stored temporarily, by making fuel of it of using it as feedstock for plants or permanently, in things like buildings and constructions.

By planting trees, not only are we allowing a natural type of carbon capture to occur, but we also ensure that we have biomass reserves for the future, as well.

Van der Werf explained that there are some challenges when it comes to popularizing biomass, specifically the fact that there already is a significant waste stream coming from cooking and agriculture that is just burned and not taken advantage of properly.

Biomass, in her vision, also should be used as close to the source of supply as possible, since transporting it over long distances might consume its carbon budget and the advantages would nearly go away.

Another potential issue lies in the fact that people could rely too much on biomass, using it as a primary source of energy, which would be wrong, because of its potential carbon footprint, but also due to the fact that it can cause a change in land use.

Really, biomass should be used as a source of energy only using the existing waste stream, which is available in most places, it is not intended to create extra waste streams just for it to exist.

For biomass to be used correctly as a way of generating energy, while storing and using carbon, Marieke van der Werf thinks we need a good plan for each state and we also need financial rewards for properly using it.