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Innovative Market Mechanisms and Frameworks to Develop Biomass Co-firing Potential in China

Biomass combustion and co-firing for electricty and heat

Alholmens Kraft, Finland, the world's largest biomass-fired power plant

Combustion is the most common way of converting solid biomass fuels to energy. Worldwide, it already provides over 90% of the energy generated from biomass, a significant part of which in the form of traditional uses for cooking and heating. Biomass of different forms can also be used to produce power (and heat) in small-scale distributed generation facilities used for rural electrification, in industrial scale applications, as well as in larger scale electricity generation and district heating plants.

Clean Development Mechanism market status: 

[This information is kindly provided by the UNEP Risoe Centre Carbon Markets Group]

Project developers of biomass projects in the CDM pipeline apply a variety of different CDM methodologies due to a variety of different feedstock and sectors where biomass projects are applied. Methodologies include ACM6 “Consolidated methodology for electricity generation from biomass residues”, ACM3 “Emissions reduction through partial substitution of fossil fuels with alternative fuels or less carbon intensive fuels in cement manufacture”, AMS-I.A.: Electricity generation by the user and AM36 “Fuel switch from fossil fuels to biomass residues in heat generation equipment”.

CDM projects based on biomass represent 13.6% of all CDM projects in the pipeline. Biomass projects have been the main driving force of CDM project development in many developing countries where agriculture is the main industry and agricultural wastes are abundant. Of the 277 registered projects, 168 are small-scale projects. [media:image:4] Example CDM project:

Title: “35 MW Bagasse Based Cogeneration Project” by Mumias Sugar Company Limited (MSCL) (CDM Ref. No. 1404)
Mumias Sugar is the leading sugar manufacturer in Kenya. It sells sugar through appointed distributors nationwide. The company has diversified into power production. The technology to be employed for the Mumias Cogeneration Project will be based on the conventional steam power cycle involving direct combustion of biomass (bagasse) in a boiler to raise steam, which is then expanded through a condensing extraction turbine to generate electricity. Some of the steam generated will be used in the sugar plant processes and equipment.
Project investment: USD 20'000'000
Project CO2 reduction over a crediting period of 10 years: 1'295'914 tCO2e
Expected CER revenue (USD 10/CER): USD 12'959'140

To consider and make recommendations on the institutional framework, policies and regulations to promote biomass co-firing in China and to guarantee a sustainable biomass supply.


39° 55' 44.04" N, 116° 23' 16.8" E
Main activity and output: 
  • Define the potential for biomass co-firing in China and analyse the international scenario in the sector;
  • Identify the critical factors for the successful development of a market for biomass co-firing in China;
  • Define barriers and risks associated with biomass co-firing and commercial biomass supply;
  • Identify innovative mechanisms and financial instruments to mitigate commercial risks associated with biomass supply;
  • Develop several case studies and recommendations, and disseminate.
Expected impact: 
  • Provision of a profile of the biomass energy sector in China;
  • Provision of recommendations for the policy framework and financial mechanisms for the successful promotion and uptake of biomass co-firing in China (a key part of China's Renewable Energy Law which states that 10% of China's energy needs should be met by renewables by 2020);
  • Strengthening of the network of national and regional policy makers in the field of biomass energy and in particular those interested in co-firing;
  • Provision of the selected case study for co-firing as an exemplar in the field of biomass co-firing in China and for use as a replicable model;
  • Reduction in dependency on imported fuels and provision employment and economic benefits to rural areas.