The attractiveness of a certain country/region as trade partner for the EU not relates to the availability of biomass, but also to the political stability and local governance, the investment climate and potential projections to use the available biomass for domestic applications (energy and other). Also sustainability governance for forestry or agriculture are considered as this will be an important requirement from EU side for potentially imported biomass. The table below gives an overview of the main strengths and weaknesses of Colombia as a trade partner for biomass with the EU.

SWOT principle






Mobilisation opportunities

Options to mobilise the production/ harvest of biomass for exports

Sugar cane and palm oil sector are interested in possibilities of using residues for other uses including export. Main residues with higher content will remain in use in the mills. Possible to consider bringing biomass to harbour but with a higher cost and invest in other logistics such as storage.


Sugar Cane and Palm Oilsector interested in using the residues for green advanced products such as chemicals.


The palm oil sector in 30 years (after 2030) might consider the use of the biomass when palm trees reach time of replanting.

Environmental legislation makes finding alternative uses for residues necessary

Alternative uses in the biorefinery sector if developed.

The value as a soil ammendment can become more relevant.

Local application for energy (electricity) may become more attractive.


Security of supply

Stable amount of exportable biomass available over next 10 years

Sugar cane and oil Plam harvest and process year round making residues available continuously. Sugar cane is more feasible with trash availability rather than bagasse. Palm Oil residues from trunks and leaves are considered to be available after 2025. An estimated 15 tons DM per hectare of sugar cane trash. An average production of DM of oil palm residues in the North region is 58,830 tons DM and 47,899 tons DM for the Central region.


Trash from sugar cane has lower calorific quality than bagasse.

Clear regions with probability of expasion for Palm Oil in the NorthEast of the country. Sugar cane  is expected to have higher yields.

Biorefinery opportunities may reduce the availability of biomass for export in the next 30 years.

Cost of biomass in ARA ports

€/ton DM and €/GJ

Estimated cost starts at 133.76 €/tonne sugar residue pellet delivered to Rotterdam. And 118

 the estimated cost of sugar cane residues pellets € €/tonne.

For now there is more biomass available than will be needed for a facility


Demand for biomass may lead to higher prices for pellet facility. Good contracting or joint ventures are necessary.

The prices may be higher is other regions further away from the harbours in Colombia have availability of residues to produce and export pellets.

The logistics to exort may improve in the next 10 years and will allow to cheaper prices to export.

The local uses are considered within the high value products (biorefineries) using residues from both crops palm oil and sugar cane.

Environmental issues (air, water, biodiversity and soil) are not negatively affected

Feedstock production does not affect negatively local environmental conditions

The feedstock production may increase but it is not expected to be detrimental to local environmental conditions.


There is a plethora of regulatons and policies and some areas may have less monitoring for environmental and social issues.


Use or residues can reduce risk of air pollution (due to burning) and/or pollution due to runoff.

The regulatory body is in place and standards an certification are also in place and improving the sector.

The expansion to areas where less monitoring and compliance with the regulation could be an issue. As more biomass is used soil quality maintenance can be compromised.

Life cycle GHG emissions incl. direct LUC

GHG LCA assessment in agreement with IPCC guidelines along the supply chain

The identified feedstock are residues, so no direct LUC effect should associated with its use.

The products can be processed into (pellets) or other intermediates using local biomass energy making the GHG balance very favourable. Production and supply chains shows savings in GHG in comparison with fossil alternatives of up to 80%.

If it is not possible to use local biomass energy (from sugare or palm oil mill) the GHG emission will be higher depending on the fuel used


The feedstock production and supply chains shows improved savings in GHG in comparison with fossil alternatives and with coal use at the mills

Local transport over longer distances can increase GHG emissions

If residue use leads to lower soil carbon this can increase GHG emissions The feedstock production and supply chains are not negative for GHG in comparison with fossil alternatives but are low.

Coal is the cheapest energy source in many regions of Colombia. Care must be taken that coal is not used in preocessign or that residues are replaced by coal leading to indirect coal use.

Social issues are not negatively affected

Feedstock production does not affect negatively local social conditions

The feedstock production complies with local regulations and best practices although there is not yet cleear evidence it improves local social conditions.

Lack of measures to review compliance of this specially regarding land use tenure in ex-conflict areas

Regulations and standards are being  implemented

There is no evidence that feedstock production leads to negative impacts on social issues although it does not swho improvement in the area.


Existence of policies and regulations to regulate feedstock production. Implementation/Enforcement of national, local regulations as well as relevant international convention

There is a body of national policies and regulations and the implementation/enforcement elevant international conventions

There is a lack of data related to the full compliance of local policies and regulations to regulate feedstock production and/or poor implementation/enforcement enactment and

The sectors are well organised in  chambers of commerce and in research institutes which contribute to monitor regulations  and international conventions


There is no evidence of  retrocession in terms of implementation/enforcement mechanisms