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Biomass industry

Research guide

Published: 07 Nov 2022 Updated: 07 Nov 2022 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Industry guides are also available on the renewable energy and waste management sectors.

Trends and forecasts

EU Biomass Use in a Net-Zero Economy: A course correction for EU biomass
Study by Material Economics published in June 2021. Findings reveal an urgent need to prioritise future biomass use, with current hopes for increased use far exceeding realistic sustainable increases in supply.

Energy Outlook
Annual publication from BP projecting long-term trends in energy production, trade and consumption around the world including bioenergy. The full report, individual region and country factsheets and Excel data tables are available to download.

Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices
Quarterly report published by Ernst & Young giving scores for national renewable energy markets and infrastructure, with data for individual countries and technologies including biomass.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including Biomass electricity generation in the UK. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

Market research firm providing reports on a number of sectors including the UK renewable energy market. The website includes a summary and a contents listing.

Further resources

Global biomass markets
Report published by BEIS evaluating options for different types of biomass in different regions. Areas covered include key barriers to the development of biomass supply chains, how they vary by region and type of resource and the main environmental and socio-economic impacts of biomass supply. Published 12 April 2019.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

The Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES) is an annual energy statistics publication produced by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. It provides detailed data on the production and consumption of individual fuels and of energy as a whole. Chapter 6 covers renewable sources of energy including biomass.

Scottish Forestry

A Review of the Scottish wood fuel industry was produced on behalf of Scottish Forestry in September 2021. It covers wood fuel used to generate renewable heat and electricity and includes data on installations, the number and type of businesses involved in the industry and the contribution wood fuel makes to Scotland’s renewable energy targets.

Tolvik Consulting

The report UK Dedicated Biomass Statistics 2019 was published by Tolvik Consulting in April 2020. It provides data and analysis of solid-fuelled, dedicated biomass facilities of at least 2.5MW with a particular focus on those designed for the processing of waste wood. Includes an overview on recent trends in the value of biomass fuel based on various indices.

Statistics on Europe

Bioenergy Europe

Bioenergy Europe produces a series of annual Statistical Reports providing an in-depth overview of the bioenergy sector across the EU-27. Reports include:

  • Bioenergy landscape
  • Bioelectricity
  • Biogas
  • Biofuels for transport
  • Biomass for heat
  • Biomass supply
  • Pellets

The full reports are accessible to Bioenergy Europe members but non-members can download an overview containing key highlights.

Global statistics

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

The publication Renewable Energy Statistics 2022 is produced by IRENA and provides data on renewable energy capacity and use worldwide. Covers bioenergy with data on biofuels for over 150 countries and areas.

World Bioenergy Association

The World Bioenergy Association publishes the annual report Global Bioenergy Statistics. It contains data on biomass supply including woodfuel, wood pellets, wood charcoal, crops and waste. The production of power and heat from biomass as well as biofuels are also covered. Data is provided on both a global and regional level.



The Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) includes average employment costs within this sector which can be found in Table 14. Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

  • farmers;
  • farm workers;
  • managers and proprietors in forestry, fishing and related services;
  • forestry and related workers;
  • science and technology professionals;
  • science and engineering technicians;
  • managers in mining and energy;
  • energy plant operatives.

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Further resources

Renewable energy and jobs 2022
Annual report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, produced in collaboration with the International Labour Organization. Provides latest estimates of renewable energy employment globally for different technologies including biomass.

Legislation and regulation

United Kingdom

Biomass policy statement: a strategic view on the role of sustainable biomass for net zero
Paper from BEIS setting out the strategic aims for the role of biomass across the economy in delivering towards net zero. Includes information on biomass feedstocks and their availability. Outlines priority use principles for biomass and looks at the role Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) can play in contributing to net zero. Published in November 2021.

Renewable energy innovation boosted by £37 million government funding across the UK
Press release announncing £37 million pounds of government funding has been awarded for innovative biomass projects which include increasing the growth of elephant grass (miscanthus), farming seaweed off the North Yorkshire coast, and increasing the harvesting capacity for willow. Projects receiving funding also include new technologies that will generate hydrogen from biomass and waste. Published by GOV.UK in August 2022

£4m funding to boost UK biomass production
Press release announcing 24 projects will receive funding of up to £200,000 from the government's Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, to boost UK production of biomass that can be used as sources of green energy. The innovative projects include farming seaweed and growing algae from whisky manufacturing. Published by GOV.UK in August 2021

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
The HSE produces guidance for difference industries. The sections on agriculture and engineering include latest regulations affecting this industry.

Woodfuel guidance
Guidance from BEIS which sets out the land criteria for those producing heat and electricity from woodfuel.

Sustainability standards for electricity generation from biomass
Guidance from BEIS and Ofgem on reporting for sustainability for biomass electricity generators over 50KW.


Information and resources from the European Commission on the use of biomass for energy in the EU. Includes EU rules on sustainable biomass and sustainability criteria for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

Includes import and export information for:

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Business guides

Practical resources for businesses on using biomass as an alternative source of energy.

Useful links

Biomass energy resources
Authoritative information on biomass energy, managed by the UK Forestry Commission. Their website contains a comprehensive collection of information on biomass systems, from advice on equipment and fuel to technical and regulatory information.

Energy Technology Product List (ETPL)
A government-managed list of energy-efficient plant and machinery that qualify for full tax relief, including boiler equipment, combined heat and power (CHP), heat pumps, solar thermal systems and waste heat to electricity conversion equipment. Accompanying ETL product leaflets explain the types of equipment that are eligible and show the reductions in energy bills that can be realised. 

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) 
MCS certifies microgeneration products used to produce electricity and heat from renewable sources. The MCS website includes information on financial incentives to move to renewable technologies such as biomass.

Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (NDRHI)
Information from Ofgem on the NDRHI, a government scheme providing financial incentives to increase the uptake of renewable heat by businesses, the public sector and non-profit organisations. The NDRHI scheme closed to new applicants on 31 March 2021.

Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs
Ofgem tariff tables for the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, including solid biomass CHP systems and small, medium and large commercial biomass.

Website funded by Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government providing a wide range of resources on biomass in Scotland. Includes guidance on planning a biomass installation, buying wood fuel and maintenance. Statistics and information on funding, regulations and government policy are available via the Technical Library. The site also includes case studies from a number of organisations and businesses.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

Selected article

Does the receipt of a subsidy reduce VAT recovery?
Farming and Rural Business Community News, July 2021
The article discusses spasmodic evidence of HMRC trying to disallow an element of input VAT recovery in certain circumstances, with reference to the April 2021 First Tier Tribunal case of Colin Newell v CIR, which involved a business using biomass boilers to dry products. Available online to logged-in Farming and Rural Business community members.

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