Using energy from solid biomass has the longest tradition worldwide and continues to be the most commonly used of all renewable energy technologies. Biomass for cooking and heating is the most important energy source in many parts of the globe. The proportion of solid biomass (including waste) accounted for around 9.7 per cent of the world’s primary energy supply in 2012. Its contribution to global energy supply is equally important compared with other renewable energies. The proportion of solid biomass (including charcoal) in the world’s energy supply from renewable energies stood at 68.9 per cent in 2012.
Solid biomass includes all dry and dried single items or bulk goods made from plants and parts of plants. For example, they may be stored in the form of wood pellets or wood chips, making continuous heat and electricity generation possible based on requirements.
In Germany, solid biomass has traditionally been used to provide room heating and hot water, and with a share of some 77.2 per cent, makes up the greatest proportion of the heat supply from renewable energy sources. When the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) first came into force in 2000, there was an increase in the importance of electricity generation from biomass in Germany. Today, around 11,600 GWh of electricity is produced from waste wood, sawmill waste, standing timber and landscaping materials, which equates to around 1.9 per cent of Germany’s electricity supply.