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Carbon dioxide emissions are said to be carbon neutral if they are combustion products of biomass or biobased materials. Carbon-neutral CO2 has zero carbon footprint because it has no net effect on the biosphere’s carbon concentration. Biomass, when combusted, releases carbon dioxide which in turn is readily absorbed by plants—the source of biomass. Through this cycle, plants remove carbon from the atmosphere, and carbon is released back to the atmosphere when plants are burned. This balance makes biomass-derived carbon neutral.
The Official Journal of the European Union has listed different types of materials that are considered biomass for the application of its guidelines for the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Commission. Peat and fossil fractions of the materials listed below are not considered biomass. Unless a contamination with other materials or fuels is apparent based on visual or olfactory evidence, no analytical procedure needs to be applied to demonstrate the purity of members of Group 1 and 2 below, according to the Official Journal of the European Union.
Group 1 — Plants and parts of plants:
Group 2 — Biomass wastes, products and by-products:
Group 3 — Biomass fractions of mixed materials:
Group 4 — Fuels whose components and intermediate products have all been produced from biomass:
Source: European Commission Guidance Document on Biomass issues in the EU ETS MRR Guidance document No. 3, Updated November 2017 (PDF)
Page last updated: August 2018