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Summary - LWF-Wissen 70

This report continues with the coverage of the wood market for purposes of energy production, from the years 2000 (Wagner and Wittkopf 2000) and 2005 (Bauer et al. 2006).

Introduction and Objectives

Over the last years, the utilization of wood for heat and electric energy production increased due to rising prices for fossil fuels. The political framework requirements which aim to mitigate the effects of ­climate change as well as to enable the »Energiewende«31 in Germany increased the demand for fuel wood as well. The goal of the Bavarian State Government is to stimulate energy from renewable resources. Solid biomass from agriculture and forestry is to play a key role, especially in the generation of heat with woody biomass as the main energy source.

The wood energy market report for Bavaria in 2010 extensively analyzes the production of wood as a source for energy and for material purposes. A second step describes the consumption of wood assortments which can alternatively be used for energy production or in the wood processing industry. Finally, supply and consumption are compared. Recommendations from the resulting balance will be made for the further development of energy wood utilization.


The wood energy supply from Bavarian forests was calculated on the basis of official statistics of harvested volume.

Based on the Cluster Analysis of 2008, comprehensive surveys were carried out at the levels of wood processing industries, waste wood disposal companies, biomass heating power plants and private households. Thus, a sophisticated picture about production and consumption of wood assortments for energetic and material utilization was designed. The calculation of the wood potential obtainable from cultural landscape management was derived from GIS data.


The following production quantities were derived for single wood energy assortments:

  • In 2010, the Bavarian Forestry Sector harvested about 10.4 million cubic metres round wood over bark.
  • The production of energy wood from forests increased significantly since the last report, and amounted to 6.1 million cubic metres over bark in 2010.
  • The Forestry Sector supplied 1.4 million cubic metres of industrial wood.
  • 66% of the harvested volume was used for construction, furniture, paper and pulp or particle boards.
  • Bavarian sawmills produced 4.9 million cubic metres (2 million tons dry weight) of by-products including bark and planning chips.
  • Due to utilization of semi-finished and finished products in the furniture industry, smaller quantities of industry residual wood were generated. For 2010 the total amount of industry residual wood in Bavaria was approximately 1.2 million cubic meters (0.5 million tons dry weight).
  • In 2010, disposal companies collected 1.1 million tons dry weight of waste wood and private households used 0.2 million tons for energy consumption.
  • The production of energy wood from cultural landscape management and from driftwood is in fact difficult to determine. Estimations for 2010 indicate the utilization of 0.7 million cubic metres (0.3 million tons dry weight) which includes wood from private gardens.
  • Wood from short-rotation coppice is only developing little market relevance.


The demand for wood as energy source for heat and electrical generation rose since the last market report:

  • In 2010, private households used an overall volume of about 7.5 million cubic metres of firewood from forests and gardens, pellets, briquettes, and woodchips.
  • Biomass heating plants and combined biomass heat and power stations with steam- or ORC-engineering, used 1.8 million tons dry weight (equivalent to circa 4.2 million cubic metres) of wood as energy source in the form of waste wood, woodchips from forest sources, by-products as well as industrial residual wood of the forestry industry and in low quantities bark, wood of cultural landscape management, and other woody biomass.
  • Fuel-burning installations of industrial businesses and public buildings consumed about 1.2 million cubic metres (0.5 million tons dry weight) energy wood in the year 2010.
  • In the year 2010, the energy content of the wood used for energetic purposes in Bavaria amounted to 105 PJ (Petajoule).
  • The sawmill industry transformed 10.6 million cubic metres of round wood under bark.
  • In the wood-based-panels-industry and in the pulp and paper industry the total volume of utilized forest wood, waste wood as well as by-products from the sawmill industry amounted to 3.7 million cubic metres (1.5 million tons dry weight).


For the year 2010 a volume of 30 million cubic metres of wood was produced in Bavaria. Approximately 18 million cubic metres were harvested in the forests.

The energetic use of wood amounts to 13 million cubic metres and rose about 50% between 2005 and 2010. Driving forces for the increased energetic use are the soaring prices for fossil fuels as well as political and economic framework conditions.

The weather in the year 2010 should also be considered as a reason for an increased demand of energy wood. The number of days on which the households had to heat their home was significantly higher than in 2005.


Prices for energy wood rose over the last years. The competition between material and energetic use of wood is increasing. Regional potentials for higher harvesting volumes could be realised more efficiently, however, the natural boundaries of sustainability will limit the harvest. A further source of energy wood could be created by establishing short rotation plantations with fast growing tree species (e.g. Populus spp.) on agricultural areas. It will also be necessary to use the wood resources in a more efficient way by favoring a material use before combustion.