The European Technology Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC-Platform, www.rhc-platform.org) is an initiative aiming to foster research, development and innovation in the renewable heating and cooling sector of the EU. Biomass is and is expected to remain of major importance for the heating sector, while its variety of possible end-uses (power and/or heat production, transport fuel) require that, for the EU 2020 targets to be met, its overall use must more than double. Therefore, new biomass sources must be mobilized and increased conversion efficiencies for all processes should be achieved.
Large-scale biomass power, CHP and DH plants currently consume over 1/3 of the biomass used and represent an area of intersection between the power and heating sectors.
The Biomass Panel of the RHC-Platform has defined a research priorities aiming to reach certain key performance indicators for different biomass value chains. The present paper presents the key research priorities and targets for the value chain components of most relevance to the power sector: a) sustainable and cost-efficient biomass feedstock supply, b) thermally treated biomass fuels and c) high efficient large-scale CHP plants. The technological challenges that need to be addressed at a plant level include increased fuel flexibility, nominal and operational efficiency increase, variable feedstock and variable load operation, increased steam and heat medium parameters operation, increased plant availability, gaseous emissions and dust reduction and ash utilization.