Strategic tools towards a sustainable use of biomass for low carbon domestic heating

Project summary

In the Alpine Region (AR) there is a need to support a better use of local resources and an increase of energy self-sufficiency while reducing impacts on climate and the environment (EUSALP, AG9). Biomass is a local and affordable RES and its combustion avoids fossil CO2 atmospheric emissions. For these reasons biomass use is strategic in the AR. Nevertheless, misuse of Biomass Burning (BB) leads to consistent particulate matter (PM) emissions, often unknown to population and local administrators. Actually, PM has an impact on natural ecosystems, on human health but even on climate change considering Black Carbon concentrations contained in PM emitted from BB. The main project objective is thus the development of transnational policies for a sustainable use of biomass for domestic heating (aligned to the Alpine Space SO2.1) to minimize the above cited impacts and improve a smart use of this resource in the AR. The project will focus on innovative open-source and interactive approaches for the awareness raising of citizens and local administrators about the critical aspects linked to BB and on the definition of strategic technological, economical and regulative tools to reduce the impact of BB in the Alpine valleys. The impact of the application of selected policies (following a participated search for potential solutions even involving citizens) will be evaluated through modelling activities. Innovative sustainable business models will ensure long term success of the defined solutions. The development of shared policy-relevant documents will favour the application of harmonized regulations for a sustainable use of biomass in the AR. Foreseeing the integrated collaboration of partners from 5 Countries of the AR and a large network of observers the project will drive an important behavioural, technological, environmental and regulative change in this Region but even at EU level since no common regulations at EU level actually exist for small scale biomass appliances.

Project objective

The main project objective is the development of harmonized low carbon policies related to a sustainable use of biomass for domestic heating production in the Alpine Region. This aim will be reached starting from the state of the art of the very different regulations linked to small scale biomass appliances actually in force in the Countries of the Alpine Region and the development of innovative technological, economical and informative tools that will be used by citizens and policy makers to mitigate the impact of a local widespread energy source (biomass) on air quality, human health and on climate change. The development of tools for a sustainable use of a low carbon technology at transnational level is in compliance with SO2.1.

Project Results

The project will drive a change in the Alpine Region in terms of:
1) an increase of energy efficiency, 
2) energy saving, 
3) PM emissions abatement thanks to a sustainable domestic BB,
4) the creation of free energy consultant services for citizens at municipal level in pilot areas, 
5) the development of policy-relevant documents for advisory boards of political parties containing harmonized policies related to domestic BB in the Alpine Region (including a regulative proposal) and
6) the reduction of CO2 emissions starting from baseline scenarios of specific pilot areas.
We expect a high level of implementation of the low carbon policy tools developed by the project since they will be used by a wide range of target groups.