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Biomass Logistics in the UK - Biomass Logistics Infrastructure Review


Citation Baringa Partners LLP Biomass Logistics in the UK - Biomass Logistics Infrastructure Review, ETI, 2017. https://doi.org/10.5286/UKERC.EDC.000435.
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Author(s) Baringa Partners LLP
Project partner(s) Baringa Partners, Ecofys, Llamasoft
Publisher ETI
DOI https://doi.org/10.5286/UKERC.EDC.000435
Download AdHoc_BIO_BI2014_1.pdf
Associated Project(s) ETI-BI2014: Biomass Logistics in the UK
Associated Dataset(s) No associated datasets
Abstract This project will describe existing biomass import / storage / distribution assets and, using findings from BVCM (ETI’s Bio Value Chain Model) and other references, will define and test alternative scenarios for different biomass demand levels.

This report details how the biomass logistics infrastructure network has developed in the UK to date and the current status of, and issues with, biomass distribution networks in the UK. The report should cover both imported and domestic biomass feedstocks. The report should highlight any future planned investments in biomass logistics infrastructure. The report should also consider lessons that can be learned from other relevant sectors such as coal and oil.

Up to now the sector has been subsidy-driven and while growth of the biomass market has been evident it is still only a small percentage (4%1) of the total energymarket despite significant support to date.

Key Findings:
  • Despite new entrants, the supply chain is very fragamented.
  • There are a number of planned network logistics investments which have the potential to benefit the sector.
  • There are lessons that can be learned from established supply chains in other comparable industries
  • Confidence in the sector is much needed to attract further investment in supporting infrastructure and supply chain synergies.
  • Rail is vital to the UK’s economic prosperity. Rail links with ports and airports are essential to support the transportation of goods
  • The extent to which rail transport and freight specifically will be a constraint to the biomass logistics supply chain is dependent upon a range of factors; primarily the Government’s energy policy on biomass, willingness of the Government to protect capacity and promote rail freight growth on the network, the extent to which biomass will replace coal and the cost efficiency of using imported fuel sources and rail haulage, as opposed to local fuel supplies and other transport modes

The review also finds that the biomass sector is not without challenges. These challenges include; a shortage of drivers who are willing to work in this sector (as well as more generally in road haulage), increasing barriers to entry driven by the emergence of larger and more dominant market players, schedule optimisation to reduce ‘empty miles’, the need for standard practices which ensure product quality and the clear reduction in Government support and incentives.

In an uncertain UK energy policy context, growth in biomass projects and the logistics supply chain will only occur if the biomass sector continues to receive an allocation of CFDs and/or market prices support project economics without need for subsidy. For growth to occur, it requires the two fundamental factors of revenue and fuel supply certainty to be addressed, together with meeting the opportunities and challenges associated with the future direction of UK energy policy