Draft COST action on management of recovered wood

March 15, 2002

Brussels, 14 March 2002

European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research - COST Secretariat. Draft Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of a European Concerted Research Action designated as COST Action E31 "Management of Recovered Wood." Brussels, 8 March 2002 (document COST 219/02). Full text

The Signatories to this Memorandum of Understanding, declaring their common intention to participate in the concerted Action referred to above and described in the Technical Annex to the Memorandum, have reached the following understanding:

1. The Action will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of document COST 400/01 "Rules and Procedures for Implementing COST Actions", the contents of which the Signatories are fully aware of.

2. The main objective of this Action is the improvement of the management of recovered wood towards a higher common technical, economic and environmental standard.

3. The overall dimension of the activities carried out under the Action has been estimated, on the basis of information available during the planning of the Action, at Euro 17 million at 2001 prices.

4. The Memorandum of Understanding will take effect on being signed by at least five signatories.

5. The Memorandum of Understanding will remain in force for a period of four years calculated from the date of the first meeting of the Management Committee, unless the duration of the Action is modified according to the provisions of Chapter 6 in the document referred to in Point 1 above.

A. BACKGROUND

Introduction

The European Union has set a target to double the share of renewable energy in the European primary energy supply from a level of 6% in 1997 to 12% by 2010. The positive technical, economic and structural conditions for the use of biomass for energy generation will enable biomass to contribute significantly to this aim.

In the Kyoto process the European Union has committed to reduce European greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O etc.) by 8% from 1990 level by the year 2010. Energy generated from biomass is able to substitute for fossil fuels used for electricity, heat supply and transportation fuel. Biomass will therefore contribute substantially to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly CO2 from fossil fuel combustion.

Landfilling of organic material leads to CH4 emissions, and the GHG potential of CH4 is 21 times higher than that of CO2. Therefore, avoiding landfill of biomass can reduce CH4-emissions from landfill sites. One of the most important sources of biomass ­ in addition to forestry and energy crops - derives from industrial wood at the end of its life (e.g. demolition wood, timber from building sites and the commercial sector).

Amount of recovered wood and wooden residues

The annual production of roundwood (equ.) in Europe amounts to almost 300 Mio. m³ (FAO statistics) or 180 Mio. tons. Consumption of roundwood is even significantly higher with imports taken into account. This roundwood is harvested mainly from sustainably managed forests and so the forest residues also arise sustainably and permanently. Moreover, the forest products (sawn timber, wood based panels, pulp etc.) derived from this roundwood consumption increase the stock of forest products in use. Table 1 gives an estimation for a number of European countries of the part of this stock available annually as recovered solid wood from wood products reaching the end of their primary life (excludes recovered paper). Some of this recovered wood is recycled, only a small fraction is used for energy generation, and a substantial fraction is landfilled. It is clear from the figures of Schararai-Rad et al. (1999) based on the year 1994 that recovered wood should amount annually to much more than 80 Mio tons (dry) in Western Europe (EU incl. Norway, Switzerland)....

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