• Bio-based economy;
  • Monitoring;
  • Biomass;
  • Sustainability;
  • Trade;
  • Certification


Transition to a bio-based economy will create new demand for biomass, e.g. the increasing use of bioenergy, but the impacts on existing markets are unclear. Furthermore, there is a growing public concern on the sustainability of biomass. This study proposes a methodological framework for mapping national biomass flows based on domestic production-consumption and cross-border trade, and respective share of sustainably-certified biomass. A case study was performed on the Netherlands for 2010-2011, focusing on three categories: (i) woody biomass, (ii) oils and fats, and (iii) carbohydrates. Between 2010-2011 few major shifts were found, besides the increasing biofuel production. The share of sustainably-certified feedstock is growing in many categories. Woody biomass used for energy amounted to 3.45 MT, including 1.3 MT imported wood pellets ( >85% certified). About 0.6 MT of oils and fats and 1.2 MT (estimation) of carbohydrates were used for biofuel production. It is assumed that only certified materials were used for biofuel production. For non-energy purpose, more than 50% of woody biomass used was either certified or derived from recycled streams. Certified oils has entered the Dutch food sector since 2011, accounted for 7% of total vegetable oils consumption. It is expected that carbohydrates will also be certified in the near future. Methodological challenges encountered are: inconsistency in data definitions, lack of coherent cross-sectorial reporting systems, low reliability of bilateral trade statistics, lack of transparency in biomass supply chains, and disparity in sustainability requirements. The methodology may be expanded for future projection in different scenarios. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd