VRT News's Nina Verhaeghe has been examining this issue: "Most people think that solar panels and wind turbines are the most important suppliers of renewable energy, but biomass is far more important as a supplier of energy when we look at the official figures. Official statistics label this 'household use' to distinguish it from the large biomass power stations. Household biomass fuel mainly consists of wood and or wood pellets that are used in wood stoves. The burning of wood is seen as a renewable source of energy because wood supplies can be replenished by planting more trees. This form of fuel provides twice as much energy than land-based wind turbines and over one and a half times the energy produced by solar panels. At present the burning of wood is responsible for 22% of all green energy in Flanders.
But is this a clean source of energy?
Nina Verhaeghe: "No, this is one of the reasons why the biomass power plants have always been a controversial source of renewable energy because of the soot and particulate matter emissions. Look at emissions linked to household use and you see that they are far higher when compared to the amount of energy produced. The emissions of biomass power plants is closely monitored by the authorities, while for households this is far less the case.