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Sustainable use of biomass in the residential sector

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This report has been prepared in support of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR).

In the framework of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), biomass burning for heat production in households has emerged as a major issue where a better balance between “decarbonisation” benefits and negative impacts on air quality, the environment and human health is needed.


This report provides a synthesis of the current knowledge, leading the reader from problem formulation, to impact analysis and suggested solutions, both from the technical and regulatory points of view.


This report is intended to be read by policy makers and technical staff in research and regulatory bodies in the countries of the Danube-macro region dealing with the problem of finding a better balance between “decarbonisation” benefits and negative impacts on air quality, the environment and human health, connected with its excessive or unregulated use.


The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) has identified energy as a key issue to be addressed in order to support sustainable growth throughout the region. In particular, domestic biomass burning has been identified as a topic to be further investigated. Consistently with its role of supporting decision-makers and other stakeholders to identify the policy needs and actions for the implementation of the strategy, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) has acted both as knowledge producer and knowledge manager for addressing the issue. This report is based on this scientific work performed by JRC, its local partners in the EUSDR and several other research and policy making institutions.


The climate legislative framework of the EU and the non-EU countries of the Danube region for energy and climate is leading to increased use of biomass for energy purposes, including domestic heating. This trend, if not properly governed, could to pose risks for the human health and the environment mainly because of emissions of air pollutants and overexploitation of resources. Governance is then needed, aiming at both improving the technologies used and optimising the management of biomass resources.

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