Biomass in Turkey is flourishing and have amazing opportunities for the development and commercial implementation of energy crops. Energy imports in Turkey are 75 per cent of its energy needs and energy demand in the country is forecast to double by 2017. Supporting sustainable energy investments is therefore a key element of several banks and investors in Turkey.The Republic of Turkey located in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia, has an area of over 779,452 km2 and a population of 65 million. Economic growth in recent years has been associated with the privatization of public enterprises. Macroeconomic performance was boosted by a growth in the energy sector.
Turkey biomass

The demand for energy and particularly for electricity is growing rapidly as a result of social and economic development.Recently, the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) has launched the Turkish Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (TurSEFF), worth up to US$ 245 million, for on-lending to businesses and households via local partner banks.

The proceeds of the facility are used to finance energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy investments, including geothermal, solar, biomass and biogas, implemented by Turkish businesses and households, helping them to cut their carbon footprint by reducing energy wastage.Some local companies have developed enough an evaluation of resources and define the map we have included here below which shows a total national potential of  168.7 Twh/year.

Turkey has a great potential, but energy crops sometimes will be required to minimize biomass collection and supply chain risks to biobased industries

Turkey represents a stable investment environment in South-East Europe with clear rules and fair FIT rates. Current cumulative installed biomass capacity in the country of 130 MWel is insignificant, but a number of fully permitted and ready to build projects will promptly increase in 2013/14.

Turkish biomass market has a good chance of reaching several hundred MWel cumulative installed capacity in the next 2 years. The report provides a complete picture of the market situation, dynamics, current issues and future prospects.

The largest portion of this product is used in rural areas for heating and cooking in a primitive way.

Turkey has about 21,7 million hectares of forest area (about 27,2% of country's land area).  A similar share is occupied by pastures and grasslands.
Turkey has about 21,7 million hectares of forest area (about 27,2% of country’s land area). A similar share is occupied by pastures and grasslands.

The consumption of forest biomass compared to total energy has slightly decreased from 22 to 14% during the last decade because the consumption of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) is increasing continuously. LPG is not expensive; it is easy to transport and ignite, and in addition it is a clean fuel. Domestic energy consumption accounts for 37% of the total energy consumption.

The annual biomass energy potential of Turkey has been  estimated to be 32 Mtoe and the total biomass consumtion in Turkey was 4,8 Mtoe/year (in 2008).

The recoverable biomass energy potential come from:

- Agricultural residues
– Forestry and wood processing residues
– Animal wastes
– Municipal wastes.

Electricity selling price regulations that are generated with the usage of the renewable energy  sources  (hydraulic, wind, geothermal, biomass and solar). In 1992, electrical production from biomass, primarily wood, had a net impact of $1.7, billion and biomass electrical-generating capacity will have grown to approximately 22 GW in 2010. At this capacity level, the economic benefits are estimated to be $6.2 billion in personal and corporate income and 238,000 jobs.

One alternative for producing electricity from biomass in a gas turbine is direct combustion of biomass as a primary energy source. Biomass is burned directly to produce steam; the steam turns a turbine and the turbine drives a generator, producing electricity. Because of potential ash build-up (which fouls boilers, reduces efficiency and increases costs), only certain types of biomass materials are used for direct combustion. Direct combustion usually involves reducing the biomass into fine pieces for fueling a close-coupled turbine system. In a close-coupled system, biomass is burned in a combustion chamber separated from the turbine by a filter.

Renewable electricity production is supported by feed-in rates. The feed-in rates for the different types of renewable electricity generation are (data from 2012, IEA Task33):

  • Wind and Hydraulic Power: 7,3 cents $/Kwh
  • Geothermal Power: 10,5 cents $/Kwh
  • Biomass/Biogas Power and solar: 13,3 cents $/Kwh

This selling price is for both gasification and combustion applications. Legislation has been recently approved by Turkish Assembly at the end of 2010. With this attempt, Turkey is newly on the way of subsidizing renewable energy entrepreneurs and of increasing the usage of biomass as well.

What is known on energy crops in Turkey?

Not many experiences with novel energy crops have been experienced and reported in Turkey in recent years. Some published reports with Miscanthus have shown low potential in semiarid lands (310mm rainfall per year) with yields as low as 7 dried tons per hectare. The fact is that a semiarid land like Turkey needs to use the long record and experience we had in Spain, Italy and greece. Alternatives like CardoonTall wheatgrass and many other crops we suggested for marginal lands, has much more sense in marginal lands with extremely low lands lease costs.  Irrigated and rain-fed crops are both possible in several regions now occupied with grasslands or in abandoned lands.

Grasslands bioenergy
Giant reeds (Arundo donax)Switchgrass and several other energy crops that have been demonstrated extensively in Europe are feasible and realistic options to be considered in Turkey. In colder regions, some woody crops like Sida and Siberian elm might be developed too.
What advantages would energy crops offer in biomass projects in Turkey?
Energy crops might offer significant advantages along the supply chain of any prokect of biogas, biofuels or biopower in Turkey. As residues are highly available in some regions, dedicated plantations may add more biomass and allow projects to add values like this:
  • More options reducing supply risks
  • Higher biodiversity
  • Reforestation programs
  • Integration with forest and agri-industries and providing rural income and local solutions
  • Annual and perennial herbaceous crops integrated with existing farming activities (residues, crops, food and sinergies between them)
  • multifeedstock approach reducing uncertainties for biobased industries
  • Woody crops and short rotation coppice alternatives.

poplar short rotation coppice 1


The future of biomass electricity generation lies in biomass integrated gasification/gas turbine technology, which offers high-energy conversion efficiencies. The electricity produced by direct combustion of biomass, advanced gasification and pyrolysis technologies are almost ready for commercial scale use. A supplementary firing of biomass in steam-electric power plants may, under certain circumstances, prove to be economically feasible.