Glossary of Terms

As with any sector there can be loads of confusing acronyms thrown around within the world of Biomass. We do our best to explain these if we use them, but here are the most commonly used ones to help get you up to speed if you need it.

Glossary of Biomass Terms


The Arboricultural Association defines arboriculture as the ‘science and practice of the cultivation, establishment and management of amenity trees for the benefit of society’.


B E C C S - Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage
Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon Capture and Storage


Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage is a technique of producing energy from biomass whilst capturing and storing the carbon released during the processing and burning of the biomass. It is key technology for meeting the 2°C goal for global warming.

Read our technical article about BECCS for more information.


C C A - Climate Change Agreement

Climate Change Agreement

A voluntary agreement in the UK that offers energy-intensive industries a discount on the Climate Change Levy (a tax on energy use) in exchange for meeting energy efficiency and emission reduction targets.

More information is available from the website:–2

C C C - Climate Change Committee:

Similar to UKCCC, it advises and monitors climate change policies in other countries.

The Climate Change Committee is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

C C S - Carbon Capture and Storage

A technology that captures CO2 emissions from industrial processes or power plants and stores them underground to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

C H P - Combined heat and power

A system in which the heat associated with electricity generation is also used for space heating or process heat.

According to the website (

By generating heat and power simultaneously, CHP can reduce carbon emissions by up to 30% compared to the separate means of conventional generation via a boiler and power station.

The heat generated during this process is supplied to an appropriately matched heat demand that would otherwise be met by a conventional boiler. CHP systems are highly efficient, making use of the heat which would otherwise be wasted when generating electrical or mechanical power. This allows heat requirements to be met that would otherwise require additional fuel to be burnt.

For many organisations, CHP is the measure that offers the most significant single opportunity to reduce energy costs and to improve environmental performance with existing users of CHP typically saving around 20% of their energy costs.

D E C C - Department of Energy and Climate Change

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (now part of DESNZ ) is a former UK government department responsible for energy and climate change policies.

C O P - Conference of the Parties

The annual meeting of all countries that are parties to the UNFCCC, where climate change negotiations and decisions take place.

D E S N Z - Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

The current UK government department responsible for energy, industrial strategy, science, and climate change policies.

E T S - Emissions Trading Scheme

A market-based approach to control greenhouse gas emissions by setting a cap on total emissions and allowing the trading of emission allowances.

E N A - Energy Networks Association

Represents the UK’s gas and electricity network operators, involved in managing and developing the energy infrastructure.


Energy supply company. Sells heat to the customer instead of a boiler and/or fuel.

G H G - Greenhouse gas

Any one of a number of gases that trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere in a similar way to which the glass traps heat in a greenhouse

F I T - Feed-in Tariff

A government program that encouraged the adoption of renewable energy sources by offering fixed payments to generators of renewable electricity. No longer available as it has been replaced by the less lucrative SEG (Smart Export Guarantee) payments.

I P C C - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.

Net Zero

Net zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. 

This means that a process can be considered Net Zero when it is no longer adding to the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


Ofgem is Great Britain’s independent energy regulator.

P A S - Publicly Available Specification

A document setting out specifications or guidelines for particular products, services, or processes, relevant to climate change and sustainability.

N D C - Nationally Determined Contribution

Commitments made by countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

L C A - Life Cycle Assessment

A process to assess the environmental impacts of a product or system throughout its life cycle, including biomass energy production.

R H I - Renewable Heat Incentive

A UK government scheme that provides financial incentives to promote the use of renewable heat technologies, including biomass.

R O C - Renewables Obligation Certificate

Renewables Obligation Certificates are issued to accredited renewable energy generators for every megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity they produce.


Silviculture, as defined by Forest Research is ‘the care and cultivation of woodlands’ (as opposed to arboriculture which is the care and cultivation of individual trees.)

S R C - Short Rotation Coppice

Some fast growing tree species can be cut down to a low stump (or stool) when they are dormant in winter and go on to produce many new stems in the following growing season. This practice is well established in the UK and Europe, having been a traditional method of woodland management over several hundred years for a variety of purposes including charcoal, fencing and shipbuilding.

S R F - Short rotation forestry

Short rotation forestry (SRF) consists of planting a site and then felling the trees when they have reached a size of typically 10-20 cm diameter at breast height. Depending on tree species this usually takes between 8 and 20 years, and is therefore intermediate in timescale between SRC and conventional forestry.

T O E - Tonnes of Oil Equivalent

A measure of energy used to relate different fuels to the equivalent oil requirement based on an energy value for oil of 42 MJ/kg.

U N F C C C - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

An international treaty aimed at addressing climate change and its impacts.

U K C C C - UK Committee on Climate Change

An independent statutory body advising the UK government on emissions targets and climate change policies.