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Residual Biomass: A Silver Bullet to Ensure a Sustainable Bioeconomy?

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Published on 20/12/2018 by A. E. Bout, S. F. Pfau, E. van der Krabben & B. Dankbaar

Contact details

Swinda Pfau

Radboud University Nijmegen

Output contains: Publication open access

Innovative components

This paper discusses conditions under which changing the way residual biomass is handled is sustainable. Even though residual biomass was long considered a waste product without function, most traditional treatments do provide useful product, for example compost or energy. Residual biomass is now considered an important resource for bioenergy and bio-based products. But using biomass for new applications means losing traditional functions and is not automatically more sustainable. This paper discusses old and new biomass uses and conditions to ensure that changing the way biomass is handled is a step in the right direction.

Findings and implications to practice

Landscape managers increasingly want to use the residual biomass that is left after vegetation management. To maximise the benefits of using residual biomass we recommend that current and future biomass uses are compared with one another. These applications may contribute to sustainability in varying degrees. Comparison should include not only costs, but also impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, soil fertility, land use, and ecosystem services such as habitats and biodiversity.

Contemporary biomass applications and resource (Source: Figure 1; Swinda et al. 2018)


Journal publication

Pfau, S.F., 2015. Residual Biomass: A Silver Bullet to Ensure a Sustainable Bioeconomy? in: The European Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment 2015: Official Conference Proceedings. pp. 295–312

Related outputs

Life cycle greenhouse gas benefits or burdens of residual biomass from landscape management

Residual biomass from landscape management can contribute to both greenhouse gas benefits and burdens, depending on the application.

24/01/2019 by Swinda Pfau

Contains: Publication open access

Last modified: 20/02/2019