Experts discuss the environmental impact and policy recommendations for collecting and treating forest residues

The 3rd Peer Review Session of the Biocircularcities project was held on 23-24 May 2023. It follows the 3rd round of Local Living Labs that brought together the local stakeholders in the Province of Pazardhzik. For the first time, the 6 external experts and project partners met in person for this third Peer Review session. The discussions focused on the environmental impact and policy recommendations for the collection and treatment of forest residues.

Experts discussed the importance of proper data to assess the impact of the scenario, especially on the tree species, the type of logging, and the type of soil. They also reported the existence of different biorefineries and projects using lignocellulosic biomass, with data available.

During the session, two scenarios were compared: energy recovery and biorefinery. While the use of wood as primary biomass might not be considered as renewable energy in the upcoming Renewable Energy Directive, and the fact that the chemical value of lignin is much higher, the implementation of a combined heat and power unit in was considered as more feasible by local players. The soil carbon stock for the forestry residues could not be taken into account for the LCA since the timeframe of 1 year used was too short to notice an impact. ENEA explained that the assumption was made difficult due to the low availability of key data, such as costs and revenues for lignocellulosic processes.

In addition, participants of the session discussed the policy recommendations to support the implementation of the alternative scenario prepared by ENT. Experts proposed different instruments, such as incentives based on the carbon footprint of bioenergy, or carbon footprint valuation.