Conclusions

3.59 The properties of biomass make it a particularly appropriate fuel for heat and CHP plants. Technologies for biomass-fired heating plants are well established; applications depend on matching biomass supply to heat demand. CHP technologies are controllable but further development is needed, particularly for small-scale plant and plant with high efficiency of conversion to electrical output. Co-firing of biomass with coal in existing generating stations has an important short- to medium-term role in developing the biomass sector. Biomass plant that are well designed and properly operated are associated with lower emissions than other fuels, notably coal. Handling of the ash, including recycling of nutrients to the soil, requires attention for any substantial application along with minimising the impacts of traffic movements and the visual impact of the plant itself.

3.60 Government policy should concentrate on the development of the biomass sector in the UK rather than speculative export opportunities. The plethora of existing schemes should be replaced or supplemented by coherent policies to promote efficient heat production and use, particularly 'green heat' from biomass. Unintended barriers to the use of biomass, for example in co-firing, need to be removed.

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