Wood is one of the most important resources of the bioeconomy, which is why an increase in demand for this renewable raw material can be expected with increasing transformation towards the bioeconomy. In contrast, however, there are various influences on supply. The increasing interest in using the forest as a carbon sink, the promotion of out-of-use positions and the increase in damaging wood events such as bark beetles, windthrow, etc. influence the supply of wood. In addition, the change in climatic conditions will change the future supply of tree species, resulting in multiple conflicts of objectives in the area of forest use and thus also for the supply of wood to the economy.
Increasing raw material demand due to bioeconomy and energy transition
With the help of the stakeholder workshops “Bioeconomy and raw material wood”, which BioBASE conducts within the framework of Bioeconomy Austria, the future demand for wood as a raw material due to the bioeconomy and other political objectives (e.g. decarbonisation of the industrial and energy sector) is to be estimated and different future scenarios for future demand are to be drawn. It will be analysed which product innovations in the wood value chain, but also which new applications and business areas can be expected. The entire material and energy value chain, starting from the raw material wood, is integrated into the stakeholder process and cascading utilisation paths and recycling potentials are taken into account.
Scenarios for material and energy recovery
The scenarios are ultimately intended to depict the changes in supply and demand for wood as a raw material and to show how demand will be met in the wood, paper, board and chemical industries, as well as in the energy sector. From this, the future demands on the raw material wood as well as the economic and ecological effects on the national economy (e.g. jobs, value added) can also be depicted.
In dialogue with stakeholders
During the first stakeholder workshop, which took place on 20 June 2022, the most important opportunities and challenges for the next 3-5 years were defined:
- Circular economy (especially application in building with wood)
- Substitution of fossil products (esp. by chemicals from wood)
- Taxonomy & Green Finance (esp. for building with wood and paper)
- Security of supply (esp. for building with wood and paper)
In the 2nd workshop on 9 August 2022, the question of access to wood as a raw material was discussed in greater depth. The focus was on the raw material requirements for both the bioeconomy and energy use, primarily domestically, but also the perspective with regard to raw material imports.
In the 3rd workshop on 10 October 2022, the Institute for Industrial Ecology and Economica presented their scenario analyses. Two different scenarios were calculated. While the bioeconomy scenario assumes an increase in wood construction and paper for packaging and wood-based chemicals, the energy scenario assumes an increasing demand for energy from biomass, including an increased conversion of industry from gas to biomass CHP.