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Biomass utilization in Czech Republic and recent legislative condition

Article was primary writen for conferenc RecAsh focused on regular recycling of ash from combusting clear biomass. There is a description of biomas utilization, legal condition and handling with ash in Czech Republic.


Utilization of biomass for heat generation has long tradition and still is quite common source of heat for households. New facilities for district heating systems with biomass are recently constructed. Also co-combustion in coal power plants is recently in use. Ashes from households are usually disposed in municipal solid waste, district heating systems are willing to recover ash from biomass to agriculture, but there is not sufficient interest of farmers. New legislative provision to support electricity generation from biomass was recently adopted and is also described in this article.

Keywords: Biomass, Czech Republic, Legislative provision, Ash from Biomass


Czech Republic is the country with relative high area of agricultural land, (54,2 % of total area) and forests (38,5 %). Large area of country has specific restriction due to the environmental protection (8,4 % agricultural land and 16,0 % of total area of Czech Republic), which makes some limitation in intensive farming and forestry and provides chance for energetic crops plantation and wood utilization which is usually less intensive than convention management of farm and forest land.

At present there is about 0,5 mil ha of agricultural land as a set-a-site. Due to the reduced demand of production of food and feed we can expect that available land for energy crops could rise up to 1 mil. ha in the near future (from the total area of more than 3 mil. ha of agricultural land in CZ). It is important to find alterative use of such land to maintain landscape, employment and to contribute to sustainable development. To reach the aim for renewable electricity production in 2010 it would be sufficient to grow energy crops on half of set-a-side area (approx. 250 000 ha). Long term proposal estimates that 1,5 mil. ha (approx. 35 % of agricultural land) could be use for energy crops with respect to crop rotation and good agronomic practice.

Table 1: Energy potential of biomass from different sources in CZ

Source of biomass Technical potential (Pj) Accessible potential (Pj)
Forest biomass 77,6 44,8
Biomass from agriculture 275 136
Biogas 33 16

Biomass for heat generation

In the Czech Republic, biomass is still traditional solid fuel in households heating systems mainly in rural areas, mostly as a chopped timber wood. But also furnaces equipped with automatic dosing machine for pellets (in single households) and woodchips or saw dust (in central district heating systems) are in use. New project for co-generation heat and electricity in municipal heating plant are being lay out.

Households heating systems

In the households, there is not sufficient overview how many furnaces for wood are in use. The Czech Statistical Office (CZSO, 2003) estimated that households had made 19,5 PJ of heat from wood. This relatively high value has still grooving potential due to the rising prices for other energy sources.

In the countryside, it is estimated that 17 % of households have furnace for wood. But 21 % has a furnace for coal, part of households are probably using wood in coal furnaces, even those furnaces are not constructed for wood and thus efficiency of heat production may be lower. But wood from local forest is often cheaper than coal, thus wood is used even in households equipped with coal furnaces.

Some households have home fire, which is used mostly in the beginning or at the end of the heating season or as a supplementary source in the heating season. According the CZSO, 3,5 % of household in countryside and 1,1 % in cities is equipped with home fire.

Table 2: Household equipped with furnace for wood, average of two different areas in CZ

Region %
Cities Countryside
Furnace for central house-hold heating Combination of central heating & warm water Home fire Furnace for central house-hold heating Combination of central heating & warm water Home fire
Praha 1,69 0,57 1,23 x x x
Středočeský 0,94 0,25 0,97 11,41 2,52 2,68
Jihočeský 4,81 0,57 0,74 36,20 5,90 3,03
Plzeňský 3,30 0,55 1,17 26,65 5,01 1,97
Karlovarský 3,57 2,16 1,19 13,04 15,94 5,80
Ústecký 1,73 0,70 1,82 13,90 5,02 6,18
Liberecký 3,91 0,75 1,88 24,91 4,46 5,58
Královéhradeciký 4,33 1,25 1,11 26,27 5,30 4,03
Pardubický 2,13 0,78 0,64 27,84 9,68 2,38
Vysočina 3,81 1,11 0,76 26,98 10,97 1,80
Jihomoravský 2,89 0,58 0,71 20,37 8,15 4,67
Olomoucký 3,67 0,88 0,76 21,80 10,30 2,40
Zlínský 4,53 2,55 1,49 24,83 16,50 3,67
Moravskoslezský 2,96 3,41 1,27 17,40 15,38 2,72
CZ Total awerage 2,78 1,11 1,13 21,21 8,80 3,45


Handling with ash from household heating system

Ash from household is frequently disposed in a bin for municipal solid waste (MSW). MSW is mostly disposed at landfill. Some households are recovering produced ash in a home compost together with household biodegradable waste and used it in the garden lately on. Less frequently is ash put into local manure storage, when chicken, goat or other animals are grown. But household are practicing recovery of waste in home compost or manure storage mostly when production of ash is seasonal and quantity is low (when is a furnace for wood just supplementary heating source).

Ash from coal is usually disposed into MSW bin, but cases when coal ash or even ash from illegal burning of household waste are disposed in local manure storage or home compost were recently registered. It is a matter of fact that part of habitants mainly in rural areas has very low environmental awareness.

Incineration of burnable waste in household furnace is probably still very common. From waste sorting analysis (VaV/720/2/00) (see table 3) we can see that in the area with solid fuel heating system the household waste contains aprox. 38 % more fine material, which is probably ash. In the countryside with solid fuel heating system there is much less paper and board, plastic, biowaste and also textiles. This difference is probably due to the illegal burning of waste in household furnaces.

Table 3: Data from waste sorting analysis from different areas.

Material Average occurrence of different material in household waste (% of weight)
Block of flats in small cities Countryside with solid fuel heating system
Paper and board 20,8 5,5
Plastic 16,8 7,7
Biowaste 20,4 6,9
Textile 6,9 2,4
Mineral waste 0,8 4,3
Hazardous waste 1,1 0,5
Fine material (probably mainly ash) 17,3 55,8
Notice: glass, metals and burnable waste are not mentioned, because they are similar in both areas


Centralized heating systems

Local sawmills and small wood processing companies are frequently using timber, or wood residues for heat generation, ash is usually disposed in MSW, due to the fact that there is produced relatively small amount of it.

There is about 300 small companies using wood or wood residues. Also district heating systems for biomass operate in Czech Republic using woodchips and sawdust or straw. There is approximately 40 district heating systems for biomass in Czech Republic

Heat generation from renewable energy is not so far systematically supported by state, higher capacity district heating systems tends to set up electricity co-generation to benefit on special provision about renewable electricity generation (which is explained below).

Handling with ash in heating system in Kysucky Lieskovec, Slovakia
Factory, which make 9 000 tons of pellets per year from sawdust, use woodchips boiler to generate heat for technologic processes and heating. They produce 13 m3 of ash per month. Unluckily they did not find anyone interesting to recover ash and they has to dispose it at the landfill with cost € 15 per m3.


Co-generation of energy from biomass

There is existing systematic support for renewable electricity generation including biomass. District heading systems tends to include electricity co-generation. Recently there are three such installations in Czech Republic. One of the successful example is district heating system in Trebic city, managed by company TTS. There was installed new turbine using Organic Ranking Cycle in May 2005. Turbine is now in a testing phase. Company runs two boilers for biomass with power of 7 and 3 MW. The bottom ash which includes mostly sand and furnace clinker is disposed into landfill. Fly ash has higher fertilization value and could be actually recovered in agriculture, but the produced amount is not very high and recently is disposed into landfill as well. From those two boilers they produce 13 tons of ash per week and disposal cost makes 750 CZK per ton including transport cost to landfill.

Co-combustion in coal electric plant

Co-combustion of biomass with brown coal or lignite is done in four power plants of company CEZ (Power plant Tisová, Poříčí, Ledvice and Hodonín). Undeveloped marked for biomass and insufficient logistic of transportation case that the potential capacity of co-combustion is not fully use. Relevant amount of biomass is burnt in Poříčí and Hodonín power plant. In Hodonin, highest amount of biomass is used.

In the Hodonin there are co-combusting biomass with lignite. Even that Hodonin power plan could replace 25 % of heat value of lignite by biomass, in reality there are using only small amount of biomass (1 000 000 tons of lignite compared to 30 000 tons of biomass). The energetic residues (ashes) from co-combustion of high volume of lignite (with ash content 17 %) with small volume of biomass (with ash content < 1 %) gives very similar material as is produced in other power plant without co-combustion. Residual product from combustion as well as co-combustion has certification for use in land reclamation and construction works. Amount of residual product is higher than demand of construction sector, thus part of the product is disposed in the landfill.

Statistical data

It is a matter of fact, that potential biomass use for heat generation is higher than electricity generation, but there are no relevant figures about how much heat from biomass is produced in Czech Republic (excluded random statistical survey from CZSO). Due to the systematic financial support we have relevant figure for electricity generation, because electricity generation is effectively controled (see tab. 4).

Table 4: Production of renewable electricity from different sources with proposed development to 2010.

Electricity from RES 2004 (GWh) 2010 (GWh) (roughly estimated)
Electricity from biomass in total 560 2 200
of it Co-combustion (305) (600)
  From pulp and paper industry (200) (220)
  Clear biomass combustion (28) (1 180)
  Biogas plant (excluded sewadge and landfill gas) (27) (200)
Wind energy 20 930
Small hydro 740 1 120
Large hydro 1 246 1 200
Geothermal 0 15
Photovoltaic 0 15
Total RES 2 536 (4.2 %) 5 480 (8 %)

Legal conditions

In the past, renewable electricity generation was supported by fixed feed-in tariffs, defined for each source on the different level. Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) was mandated to sets up a price and keeps sufficient support for each renewable electricity source. The fixed feed-in tariffs were sets up on annual base, without any prognosis for the future, this makes risk for investment into RES.

At the beginning of this year new legislative provision was adopted by Czech government for better and long term support of renewable electricity (Act No. 180/2005).

The Renewable Act should ensure an 8 % share of renewable energy in the Czech Republic’s gross domestic electricity consumption by 2010, a target laid down in the Czech Republic’s accession treaty with the EU. The new act transposes the 2001/77/EC directive into Czech legal system. The adopted support scheme provides 15-year guarantee of fixed feed-in tariffs, differentiated by technology. It is estimated that today’s new legislation will lead to the creation of 4 000 new jobs in fuel (mainly biomass) production and maintenance and about 23 000 new jobs in the production of technologies and engineering for the projects.

New investment in the Czech economy as a result of the new law is estimated to exceed EUR 1,5 billion in the next five years. The Renewable Act may also lend to a saving of approximately 4 million tons of annual carbon dioxide emission by 2010 (this mean 4,1 % of allocated CO2 allowances of European Union Emission Trading Scheme for Czech industry).

The act defines a dual pricing system offering a choice of either fixed feed-in tariffs or green bonus under the strictly defined condition.

For electricity from biomass, there will be three categories with three different fixed feed-in tariffs. In the firs category, there will be on purpose grown biomass, second category there will be residual biomass from forestry and agriculture and third category will complete from waste biomass as e.g. saw dust.

Unluckily the fixed feed-in tariffs are not known as yet. But from the negotiation of CZ Biom with Energy Regulatory Office we can expect tariffs listed in table below.

Table 5: Expected prices for electricity made from biomass

  Kind of biomass Expected price (CZK/MWh)
Fixed feed-in tariffs On purpose grown 2900
Residual agriculture and forest biomass which need gathering from field and forests 2600
Residual biomass from processing industry 2290
Green bonuses* 1400
* as a supplement to regular marketed price



  • Methodical manual of department of waste management of Ministry of Environment for Waste Management plan of Municipalities, Ministry of environment of CZ, October 2004
  • Internet: Czech statistical office, accessible from www.czso.cz
  • Act No. 180/2005 On Supporting Renewable Electricity Generation (Renewable Act)
  • Jana Szomolányiová: Cost and potential of biomass utilization in CZ, Biom online, 4.4.2005, https://biom.cz/index.shtml?x=229289
  • Supported from the faculty research project MSM No. 604607901

Článek byl uveřejněn v rámci projektu QF 3148 podpořeném Národní agenturou pro zemědělský výzkum.

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Datum uveřejnění: 15.11.2005
Poslední změna: 24.11.2005
Počet shlédnutí: 22895

Citace tohoto článku:
HABART, Jan: Biomass utilization in Czech Republic and recent legislative condition. Biom.cz [online]. 2005-11-15 [cit. 2024-07-23]. Dostupné z WWW: <https://biom.cz/cz-pelety-a-brikety-obnovitelne-zdroje-energie-bioplyn-spalovani-biomasy-bioodpady-a-kompostovani-biometan/odborne-clanky/biomass-utilization-in-czech-republic-and-recent-legislative-condition>. ISSN: 1801-2655.

15 Nov 2005 07:42 Interested person
- Návrhy
15 Nov 2005 12:23 Jan Habart
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16 Nov 2005 07:15 Interested person
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15 Nov 2005 09:13 Bufka
- Statistika
15 Nov 2005 12:31 Jan Habart
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