Substitution of fossil fuels with agrobiomass can be a very promising option for the decarbonisation of the heating sector, especially in rural areas. AgroBioHeat is a new EU project funded through Horizon 2020 that aims to provide a comprehensive platform for overcoming barriers and support the market uptake of agrobiomass heating.
The heating sector is often overlooked in the overall EU efforts to decarbonize its economy; however, it amounts to 51 % of the final energy consumption, contributes about 27 % of EU carbon emissions and still more than 80 % of the sector consumption is based on non-renewable sources. Bioenergy is by far the leading (88 %) renewable energy contributor in the heating sector. Meeting the EU 2030 targets for renewable energy and emission reduction means that additional efforts need to be spent on the decarbonisation of the heating sector.
Rural areas are also often overlooked in the energy transition. However, they are ideal for developing renewable heating solutions based on particular types of biomass resources: agrobiomass. Agrobiomass in its various forms (e.g. straw, prunings, agro-industrial residues such as olive stones and nut shells, energy crops, etc.) can be abundant in rural areas, ensuring both adequate fuel supply and short supply chains that create favourable conditions for economic and environmental sustainability. Energetic utilization of agrobiomass can also have positive social impact, in particular local job creation. Finally, from the technological side, modern heating solutions are available that can use agrobiomass with low emissions and high efficiency.