International Biomass Congress & Expo 2018: Q&A with DEPV's Martin Bentele

Martin Bentele is the CEO of the German pellet association (DEPV) and will be speaking at the International Biomass Congress & Expo discussing the German pellet sector, including an overview of the heating market as well as an outline of the ENplus certification for wood chips and pellets.

The International Biomass Congress & Expo will be held for the first time in Berlin, Germany on 10-11 October 2018. The congress will cover a variety of topics across the biomass sector, provide invaluable networking opportunities for delegates attending and present insightful discussions from some of the industry’s leading experts.

Martin answered a few questions ahead of the event.


1.      What will be the focal points for your discussion at the event?

“I will present the most important barriers and bottlenecks for the pellet market in Germany – starting with quality issues and logistics, analysing the lack of qualified installers, and also show the current governmental subsidies and political framework. But that sounds more negative than it is – I will also present some success stories that we have achieved which can be a model for other countries.”


2.      There is going to be a large focus on REDII at this year’s congress. Would you agree with others in the industry that the 30% target of the REDII isn’t enough? Do you believe it should be increased?

“Of course, the 30% renewable energy target is not high enough to reach the necessary CO2-reduction to reach the Paris goals. But the bigger problem is that a high target in this directive won’t help the renewables in the heating market at all. Moreover, there are also almost no effective measurements planned by the German government. So it is very easy to predict that the EU and especially Germany will fail to reach even these low renewable energy targets.”


3.      What does the ENplus certification mean for the future of the sector?

“ENplus will further increase the professionalism of pellet production and trade and ensure strict quality measures. The development of the pellet market in Germany – which is a heating market where high quality is a must-have – shows the importance of quality ensured pellets along the whole chain of custody. Private home owners have to be certain that, when they invest in a pellet boiler or stove, the comfort, reliability and safety that they know from fossil fuels can also be matched by a renewable fuel like pellets.”


4.      What are the key pieces of European legislation currently affecting the pellet sector?

“The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) could be helpful. But the decisive rules that could help renewable energy in buildings are widely ignored by the German government. For example, the government plans to keep the actual energy standard for new buildings as “Nearly zero-energy buildings”-standard, although the European criteria for “Nearly zero-energy buildings” call for higher standards (see Article 9). The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) could also be useful, but the German government ignores Article 13 (4), that says that “by 31 December 2014, Member States shall, in their building regulations and codes or by other means with equivalent effect, where appropriate, require the use of minimum levels of energy from renewable sources in new buildings and in existing buildings that are subject to major renovation.” The problem is that the formula “where appropriate” makes it easy to ignore this rule.”


5.      What are some of the biggest obstacles to growth of the German pellet market?

“Subsidies for fossil heating systems, no adequate price for CO2 in the heating sector, lack of qualified and motivated installers, lack of attractive incentives to switch to renewable heating – despite the fact that current programmes pay a lot of money they are widely unknown and quite complicated.”


6.      What information can someone who has attended your speech come away with?

“He or she will have a profound insight on the German pellet market with success stories of the past, current obstacles and strategies for the future market growth. I will also present the new ENplus certification scheme for wood chips.


Martin Bentele will be speaking at 2:45PM on 10 October. You can still register for the International Biomass Congress & Expo at the following: http://www.bioenergy-news.com/conference/biomass/biomass_index.php#reg

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