Structure and examples of the calculation of a GHG balance according to the SURE-EU system.

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Explanation, structure and scope of a GHG balance sheet  

According to the requirements of RED II, the GHG reduction for the production of heat and electricity from biomass fuels in plants commissioned from 2021 onwards must be 70%. This means that the use of biomass fuels, as opposed to fossil fuels such as diesel, must save at least 70% in electricity and heat production. For plants coming on line after January 1, 2026, this minimum will be raised to 80%. The GHG emissions resulting from the production of biomass fuels and from the generation of electricity and/or heat must be calculated according to a specific formula of the GHG balance at SURE-EU. 

Figure 1: Formula for calculating total emissions 

The amount of greenhouse gases is measured in a unit called grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule (gCO2eq/MJ). This unit is used for both the biomass fuels and the electricity or heat generated from them. 

When both heat and electricity are generated from a biomass fuel, the amount of greenhouse gases is divided between the two. It does not matter whether the heat is used for heating or cooling. 

To calculate how much greenhouse gases are saved by biomass fuels or the electricity or heat generated from them, one can use different methods according to SURE-EU: 

  • With default values (last interface) 
  • Standard values of the standard moisture values are for example: 
    • Case 1: Biogas from corn for electricity generation (open digestate storage): 47gCO2eq/MJ. 
    • Case 2: Biogas from biowaste for electricity generation (open digestate storage): 44gCO2eq/MJ. 
  • Operators may use the default GHG reduction value to demonstrate compliance with the GHG reduction target only when  
    • The manufacturing route and the feedstock in Annex VI of RED II is applicable, 
    • GHG emissions due to carbon stock changes resulting from land use change (el-value) are equal to or smaller than "0",  
    • And - if distance-dependent standard value classes are used - corresponding transport distances along the supply chain have been specified 
  • With actual values as described in RED II 
    • At each level can be calculated with the actual values 
    • Actual values can only be determined at the point where they arise in the value chain (e.g. emissions from cultivation can only be determined at the beginning of the value chain) 
    • All information on actual GHG emissions must be taken into account in the individual GHG calculation for all elements of the formula according to RED II and passed on along the value chain.  
  • With a mixture of default and actual values 
  • With decomposed default values (for specific parts of the supply chain) 
    • Disaggregated default values are only available for certain elements in the supply chain (eec, ep and etd) applicable 
    • If traders use the disaggregated default values up to the last interface, the use of the disaggregated default value must be indicated on the delivery document.  

When default values are used in SURE-EU, you get them from a certain point in the production chain. Then the supplier just has to tell the next in the chain that he is using the default value, and maybe also how far the transport is.  

These standard values only apply to certain parts of the production chain. If they are used until the end, this must be stated on the delivery papers.  


Requirements for the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions based on actual values at SURE-EU.

Generation of raw materials (eec):

The cultivation and harvesting of raw materials and the production of chemicals generate greenhouse gases (GHG). To reduce these emissions (eec) for SURE-EU, data must be collected on fertilizers, chemicals, fuel consumption, electricity consumption, raw materials and crop yield. 

Land Use Change

In the case of land use changes (umdedicated areas), which as of the cut-off date of January 1. 2008 heldn have and on which the production of biomass is permitted under RED II, must comply with the conditions set by the land use change are calculated and added to the other GHG emissions. emission values are added. Land use changes are understood to be the change in Bect on the ground cover. Among these ground covers, include Forested areas, wetlands, settlements, and other areas. Cultivated land and permanent crops are considered one land use. There are certain areas that were considered grassland in 2008 or became it later. It is necessary to find out whether they would remain grassland by themselves or not if no one intervenes. This can be grassland that has many different plants and animals. It is not allowed to grow material for bio-fuels on such grassland. This means so much likethat a conversion from for example forested land or grassland into a cultivated area constitutes a land use change, while the conversion of one crop (e.g., corn) to another (e.g., canola) would not be a land use change. Who is proven, that the agricultural acreage as of 01.01.2008 as agricultural acreage accounted for was and no changes in land use have occurred after the effective date, is el equals "0".  

Do you need a GHG accounting?

Requirements for calculating emissions savings resulting from improved agricultural management practices(esca)

Improved Agricultural management practices can contribute to emissions savings by accumulating carbon in the soilThese management practices include, but are not limited to, switching to reduced Tillage or zero tillage, improved crop rotation, a improved fertilizer management and the use of natural Soil improver, such as compost. The use of slurry/manure as a substrate for the production of biogas and Biomethane is likewise considered to be improved agricultural management, as diffuse field emissions are avoided. Emission savings from esca are applicable only if the measures of improvement of agricultural management was made after January 2008.  

Requirements for the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions during transport and distribution (etd) according to SURE-EU system

The emissions generated during transport and storage of the biomass must also be calculated. If there are several transport steps, each must be considered individually. Actual transport emissions can only be determined if all information concerning the interface is available for the transport steps are recorded and passed on consistently along the manufacturing chain. The already at the production and cultivation of the raw material do not need to be considered again here. The last Cutstelle in of the chain is responsible for calculating the emissions. As the "last interface are certified plants that convert solid or gaseous biomass fuels into electricity or heat and fall within the scope of RED II Article 29.  

Requirements for the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions during processing(ep) according to SURE-EU system

Each processing facility must guarantee that all GHG emissions from processing (ep) are taken into account in the GHG emissions calculation. This includes emissions from the processing itself, waste, leakage, and the manufacture of chemicals or products used during the process. CO2 emissions corresponding to the carbon content of fossil feedstocks are also included - regardless of whether they are burned during the process or not. 

When calculating GHG emissions according to SURE-EU from processing (ep), the following data is obtained on site from operational documents: 

  • Annual power consumption [kWh/a]
  • Heat generation: Fuel type for steam generation (e.g. fuel oil, gas).
  • Annual fuel consumption [kg/a] for heat generation
  • Input production [kg/a]: Amount of chemicals or products
  • Annual wastewater volume [l/a]
  • Annual yield of the main product [kg/a]. 

For the emission calculation, SURE-EU requires the data to be measured or based on the plant specifications. If emission ranges for similar plants are known, the highest value is used. True emission values are only determined if all emission information is collected and consistently reported. Additional emissions must be reported to the ep to be added. 

Emission savings through CO2-separation and -replacement (eccr)

Emissions savings from CO2 capture and replacement (eccr) under Directive (EU) 2018/2001 relates directly to biomass fuel production. It is limited to emissions avoided by capturing CO2 from biomass and using it in the production of products and services instead of CO2 of fossil origin. Under SURE-EU, if the use of fossil carbon in products or services is common, replacement with biogenic carbon is considered to be met and no evidence is required. Nevertheless, evidence must be provided for the quantities of biogenic CO2 generated that are actually used commercially. Evidence for the initial amount of fossil CO2 replaced by biogenics could look like the following: 

  • Delivery bills and invoices 
  • Detailed documents on the purchase and receipt of biogenic CO2 
  • Measurement protocols and production records: 
  • Detailed records of the amounts of biogenic CO2 produced.  
  • Contracts and agreements 
  • Contracts with suppliers or other parties concerning the use of biogenic material or biogenic CO2  

For emission calculation (eccr) are to be considered: 

  • Biomass Fuel Quantity
  • Amount of biogenic CO2  

For CO2 processing must still be determined: 

  • Amount of energy (electricity, heat)
  • Quantity of auxiliary materials  
  • Other energy inputs and their greenhouse gas emissions. 

The following plants could benefit from the capture of CO2s benefit: 

  • Biomass power plants 
  • Biogas plants 
  • Bioethanol plants 
  • Biodiesel plants 

For all plants, it would be important to have the appropriate infrastructure and technology in place to capture CO2 efficiently to separate, store or use.  

CO2-separation and geological storage (eccs) according to SURE-EU

Savings in emissions from capture and geological storage (eccs), which are not included in ep only relate to emissions prevented by capturing and sequestering the CO2 released. These are directly linked to the extraction, transport, processing and distribution of the biomass fuel.  

For the calculation of these emission savings (eccs) should be taken into account: 

  • Produced amount of biomass fuel
  • Produced amount of biogenic CO2 

In the case of CO2-processing (compression and conversion to liquid carbon dioxide), the following points must also be observed: 

  • Amount of energy consumed (electricity, heat, etc.)
  • Amount of additives consumed
  • Other process-related energy inputs not included in this list and the associated GHG emissions of these quantities consumed. 

Consideration of emissions savings from the capture and geological storage of CO2 (eccs) requires valid proof of actual capture and safe storage. In case of direct storage, it must be verified that the storage tank is tight and compliant with Directive 2009/31/EC. 

Savings through eccs, which are not included in ep are included are limited to emissions prevented by capture and storage. These are directly linked to the production, transport, processing and distribution of biofuels, provided that storage complies with Directive 2009/31/EC. 

The evaluation period for eccs must coincide with the greenhouse gas assessment period of the main production pathway (biomass fuel) according to SURE-EU. 

The capture and geological storage of carbon dioxide (eccs- "Emissions Savings from Capture and Geological Storage") and the capture and replacement of CO2 (eccr - "emissions savings through capture and replacement") have different technological, economic, and regulatory challenges and benefits. Some reasons why eccs may not be operated as frequently as eccr, are: 

  1. Infrastructure and costs: eccs requires access to suitable geological formations for CO2-storage and the infrastructure for transporting and injecting the CO2 into these formations. This can be associated with considerable costs.
  2. Long-term responsibility and monitoring: Once CO2 is geologically stored, there is a need to monitor the storage sites over a long period of time to ensure that no leakage occurs. This can mean additional costs and responsibilities for the operator. 
  3. Regulatory challenges: In many countries, there are strict regulations for the geological storage of CO2, to minimize potential environmental impacts and risks to human health. This can facilitate the process of implementing eccs-slow down the pace of projects. 
  4. Economic advantages of eccr: At the eccr the captured CO2 converted into useful products or fuels, offering potential economic advantages over simple storage. 
  5. Public Acceptance: There may be public concerns about the safety of geologic CO2-storage, especially in areas close to potential storage sites. 
  6. Technological Maturity: While both technologies are advanced, the technology of CO2-use (as with eccr) can be considered more developed and proven in some industries than geological storage technology. 

It is important to emphasize that both eccs as well as eccr have their own merits and challenges, and both technologies can be valuable in the context of global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The actual deployment of these technologies may vary depending on regional, economic, and technological circumstances. 

Momentary eccs Projects are mainly found in Scandinavian countries such as Norway, for example, as they have the necessary technology.  

Total calculation SURE-EU

Um now the total emissions used in the production of the biomass fuel before energy conversion. to calculate, the values that one previously determined.  

Eec=0 gCO2eq/MJ 

El= 0 gCO2eq/MJ 

Ep= 5.9 gCO2eq/MJ 

Etd= 0.8 gCO2eq/MJ 

Esca= -97.6 gCO2eq/MJ 

E= 0 gCO2eq/MJ + 0 gCO2eq/MJ + 5.8 gCO2eq/MJ + 0.8 gCO2eq/MJ - 97.6 gCO2eq/MJ 

Result = -91gCO2eq/MJ 

Using the formula given above, the values can now be entered. The values are standard values from RED II. The default values result in a saving of -91gCO2eq/MJ. 

Calculation of greenhouse gas reduction through the last interface  

The last interface determines the GHG emissions "E" caused by the biomass fuels in gCO2eq/MJ biomass fuel and calculates the GHG emissions caused for heat and/or electricity production by the biomass fuels in gCO2eq/MJ final energy product (electricity, heat). 

The Greenhouse gas emissions from biomass plants that produce only heat, are calculated as follows:  

ECh= E /ƞh 

The Greenhouse gas emissions from biomass plants that produce only electricity, are calculated as follows:  

ECel= E /ƞel 

ECh,el = Total greenhouse gas emission by final energy product  

E = Total greenhouse gas emissions of the biomass fuel before its final conversion.  

ηel = electrical efficiency, defined as the annual electrical power produced divided by the annual fuel used based on energy content.  

ηh = Thermal efficiency, defined as the useful heat generated annually divided by the fuel used annually based on the energy content. 

Example: If one wanted to calculate the emissions after the conversion, one would have to calculate -91gCO2eq/MJ (calculated above) divided by the electrical efficiency. Here, an efficiency of 0.8 was assumed for illustrative purposes. If we now divide these values, we arrive at a total greenhouse gas emission by the final energy product of -113.75gCO2eq/MJ.  

Who needs to do a GHG balance in the SURE system? 

Operators that receive, trade, process, or use biomass fuels to produce electricity or heat (cooling) are required to provide specific information in the SURE-EU system on the greenhouse gas emissions generated in their respective operations and to share the data with the downstream interface, provided that the conversion facility using the biomass is required to perform greenhouse gas accounting in accordance with the requirements of EU Directive 2018/2001. Such facilities are those that produce biofuels or combustibles. However, GHG accounting can be done on a voluntary basis. This means that GHG accounting is not mandatory in the SURE sector. However, this does not imply that such a regulation could not come into force at a later stage. Having a GHG accounting prepared according to SURE can, of course, be useful for the future. Some reasons for this preparation would be, for example:  

  • Environmental awareness: A GHG balance according to SURE can help you give a clear picture of the GHG emissions of your organization or company. This allows you to take action to reduce these emissions and helps promote environmental sustainability.  
    • An example would be the reduction of methane slip 
  • Reputation management: Many customers and stakeholders value environmentally friendly practices. Having a GHG footprint and disclosing efforts to reduce emissions can improve the company's image.  
  • Economic benefits: Analyzing GHG emissions according to SURE can help identify inefficient processes. Reducing these emissions could help save costs 
  • Compliance with international standards: Sometimes compliance with voluntary standards or frameworks can give you access to certain markets or partnerships, even if they are not required by law


System principles for the use, processing and trade of biomass fuels and their conversion to electricity and heat -. 

Technical Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Calculation -. 

Definitions in the SURE system: 

DIRECTIVE (EU) 2018/2001 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast). 
EUR-Lex - 32018L2001 - EN - EUR-Lex ( 

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