Agricultural and forestry biomass is the most efficient and promising renewable energy sources for the rural sector of Hungary. The biomass potential (about 163PJ/y) is quite far from the energy consumption of total rural areas including the needs of the sustainable development of national agriculture27. Briquettes are mainly used in the domestic sector as a substitute of wood logs. Biomass pellets find their energy and chemical application in industrial sector.
Basic boilers for heat-energy production are available in Hungary. The country firewood production is 0.32Mtoe and could be increased to 0.7Mtoe by using timber industrial and forestry by-products and to 1.5Mtoe by energetic forests plantation. SRC are well established.
A program of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimated that up to 300,000ha is suited to short biomass plantation. Existing small-scale trial plantations have achieved yield of 12-24odt/ha/yr. In Hungary there are available some hundred thousand hectares agricultural field to be easily used for energy plant cultivation and forestry because of the recession of agricultural production.
The biggest gap in starting the development program is the lack of law in force and financial conditions that do not encourage farmers to produce. The lack of financial supporting systems makes thermal use of biomass not competitive even in agricultural energy supply sector, except in some areas.
It is necessary to elaborate a national agro-energy-developing programme that will link research and developing institutes industrial and agricultural enterprises interested in realising the implementation of a complex biomass system.
27 NF-2000 Network news, May 1999