Can one project make a difference? BioRES is to establish biomass supply chains in South-East Europe

Untapped potential of the biomass in South-east Europe

Why some countries are more and some less successful in utilising BIOMASS, the oldest source of energy used by the mankind? Everybody knows that the South-east Europe is very rich in forest – in Croatia, for example, forest land covers 43.5 % of state territory and with 0.51 hectare of forests per capita Croatia may be considered as a European country with significant forest area. Bioenergy in its traditional forms is still very important source of energy in Croatia and most of South-East European countries but greater uptake of modern bioenergy technologies is still missing!

Why biomass is still undiscovered land among other renewable energy sources in South-east Europe? Many studies have been done; many projects have been completed during past decades but still biomass projects are rare species.

Is there a simple answer why? The answer could be (surprisingly!) simple – biomass projects need biomass! Unlike other renewables, simple investment and building an energy plant is not enough here – one would also need an efficient, robust and sustainable biomass supply chain, this could be the answer!

A new project – Sustainable Regional Supply Chains for Woody Bioenergy (in short BioRes financed through EU Horizon 2020 Programme) aims to establish and strengthen domestic supply chains for quality controlled woody bioenergy products in Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia by means of promoting and implementing an innovative concept of Biomass Logistic and Trade Centres (BLTCs) to increase biomass market uptake. The project plans to utilise experience from technology leaders from Europe, in particular Austria, Slovenia, Germany and Finland.

Depending on the scope of its actions, a BLTC can be a marketing and sales platform, managing the trading of biomass without any physical infrastructure. At a more mature stage of business development a BLTC can also have its own logistics system with trucks and storage boxes, and its own production facilities that refine and modify the biomass into different types of biofuels of higher quality for energetic purposes, either heat or electricity. It sounds very simple and straightforward, isn’t it?!

The specific objectives of BioRES projects include development of a total of at least 6 – 8 new BLTCs distributed over at least 2 of the 3 countries (Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia), developed on web-based, shop-based or investment stage for physical infrastructure, on the basis of innovative community-based or community supported business models.

Based on this BioRES concept, a number of BLTC already started to develop in Croatia based on a different business structures. In some cases they will be operated in a public-private partnership, or by an individual private shareholder/ investor, in other cases by a public authority directed by the municipality. Experts in the field already recognised that BLTC’s could be a long waited missing links and the current expectations are really high. Seven concrete and promising BLTC concepts already started – most of them in the north-west Croatia, an area of Croatia with the most dynamic bioenergy activity.

If the BioRES project objectives are to be achieved in Croatia (also in Bulgaria and Serbia), this would certainly have implications to wider South-east European area like Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro, FYR of Macedonia, Greece, Ukraine and beyond. This will finally represents a significant shift with regards to the old view in which biomass was viewed as a non-commercial rural source, or poor man’s fuel.

A benefit from such development is clear and would be very visible. For Croatia and most of the South-east Europe, most major challenges – security of energy supply, investment/economic growth and climate change mitigation are connected and can be linked with sustainable biomass sector development.

Bioenergy as the most labour-intensive renewable energy technology with a high employment-creation potential can certainly play an important role in overall energy and economic transition of the South-east Europe. The future for biomass (finally!) looks very bright.

Blogpost and photo submitted by Dr Julije Domac (REGEA – North-west Croatia Regional Energy Agency, Croatia) – jdomac(at)

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

This post is published as entry #22 of our #Forests2015 blog competition. It is submitted in the “Open” category.

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14 thoughts on “Can one project make a difference? BioRES is to establish biomass supply chains in South-East Europe

  1. Pingback: Проектът BioRES в състезанието за блогове #Forests2015blog | BGBIOM

  2. Interesting concept. Its realisation coud boost biomass utilisation in Croatia and beyond – fully in line with EU and Croatian national goals.


  3. Dear Julije. A most important project, Exchanging knowledge and experience within modern and efficient forest based value chains between countries will for sure gain both the national and international bioenergy markets.


  4. Pingback: BioRES in the #Forests2015blog competition | BGBIOM

  5. Great idea, Julije. The more that can be done to establish supply chains like this across borders the more biomass will be used and contribute to global sustainability and a low carbon economy. Good luck!


  6. Thank you for publishing this engaging article! Firewood and pellets don’t enjoy the general appeal of masses (such as solar energy for instance) so its great to have advocates like yourself who contribute to raising the attractiveness of this traditional energy product.

    I also share your excitement about the BioRES project. After a recent trip to Finland where we (project partners) have seen best case examples covering the entire supply chain I can conclude that the human factor is a very important one.

    The success of future BLTCs will depend not only on existing potentials and favorable market conditions but to a great extent on the level of dedication of people who will run it.

    And because it is about people, as a BioRES project partner from Croatia I have to say that it is a privilege to have a direct link to biomass experts from Austria, Finland, Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, Serbia or Bulgaria to think of better solutions together. Happy to be part of BioRES project team!

    To all of you out there: don’t miss the presentation in Africa!


  7. Congratulations on this new project aiming to bridge missing links for more ambitious biomass use, for which there was a clear need! Good to see that there will be exchanges of experiences between more advanced European regions and regions striving to address their untapped biomass potential. We look forward to seeing the positive impact of this contribution to the energy transition on local employment/economy and local energy security/independence!


  8. Biomass supply chain and biomass quality preservation are the key starting issues to develop a biomass based energy model. How are you considering the preservation of the quality of the supplied biomass along time in the BLTC’s?


  9. This concept would be also very interesting to be tested in Macedonia. A view to wood biomass as commercial product instead of traditional product used in rural areas is innovative.


  10. Dear Julije, an interesting article. The analysis made reflects to my opinion well the situation in many countries in the Eastern Europe. Surprisingly wood biomass in its traditional form (firewood logs) is a main source for heating, while the other more innovative forms (pellets, briquettes or wood chips) are only used limited. The technology to use this is available. The issue is to secure a sustainable supply. Biomass supply centers next to sustainable forest management will support this supply. Peter Kampen MSc Forestry, Executive Director CNVP


  11. More on BLTC’s will be presented by J. Domac and V. Segon at XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban – a presentation Forest, bioenergy and people – key elements for energy transition of South-East Europe is scheduled for Thursday, September 10, 12:45-14:15 – Session Woodfuel for Household Energy: Global Perspectives and Local Practices – organized by FAO in collaboration with ICRAF and GIZ.


    • Interesting and very useful project for Croatia! We are looking forward to seeing the first results, highly transferable also to the Croatian region of Primorje-Gorski Kotar. Pls keep us informed on the progress.


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