Biomass Environmental Assessment Tool (BEAT2)

The Biomass Environmental Assessment Tool (BEAT2), provided by Defra, the Biomass Energy Centre and the Environment Agency as an aid to assessing the likely environmental impact of a biomass energy project

BEAT2 was developed by AEA in association with North Energy Associates

The BEAT2 support line was withdrawn on the 31st March 2011. This is anticipation of the launch, in summer 2011, of the UK Government’s mandatory sustainability criteria for bioenergy. BEAT2 will remain available once the sustainability criteria are launched, but users should bear in mind that the greenhouse gas reporting tool that will form part of the criteria will use a different lifecycle methodology to BEAT2. The two tools will therefore not produce the same results.

Please click on the link to download the file from Dropbox and save it to a convenient folder on your hard disk (not a network drive). Warning 19 MB file!

Double click on the downloaded file (BEATV2.1.exe) and it will self extract, creating a new sub-folder C:\BEAT2 V2.1\. Run the programme by double clicking on the BEAT v2.1.mde file.

NB This software requires MS Access 2000 or later, Excel 2000 or later and Adobe Acrobat. If you do not have this on your computer then you can try the runtime version of MS Access 2007, dowloadable from the link below.

Microsoft Access 2007 Runtime

The Microsoft Office Access 2007 Runtime enables you to distribute Access 2007 applications to users who do not have the full version of Access 2007 installed on their computers. (.exe file - 56.2 MB)         This version of MS Access has not been fully tried and tested with BEAT therefore we cannot guarantee it will work with all aspects of the tool. No liability can be accepted by any of the BEAT project partners for use of this software.

BEAT v2 Installation instructionsBEAT v2 Installation instructions
(PDF - 9 kB)                                

BEAT v2 Quick Start instructionsBEAT v2 Quick Start instructions
(PDF - 123 kB)

BEAT v2 User GuideBEAT v2 User Guide
(PDF - 2.2 MB)

The aim of this tool is to provide the user with a means for assessing the potential benefits, as well as associated environmental impacts, of bioenergy technologies. It takes into account the diverse nature of possible bioenergy feedstocks and conversion technologies and also identifies a variety of potential environmental impacts. BEAT2 is a UK-based tool and cannot be used to assess bioenergy options outside the UK or to assess the impact of internationally sourced feedstocks.

BEAT2 allows the user to input information on different categories of bioenergy conversion plant and feedstock. The user can input either a minimum level of information or detailed information specific to the plant and type of biomass production. The tool therefore provides default parameters, but also allows the user to alter many parameters themselves. Results from the tool detail energy and greenhouse gas balances and potential environmental impacts and benefits based on the input data. The outputs also highlight where values have been changed from the default setting.

Key things to know before you download this tool

  • The results from the tool should be used as evidence to start an informed discussion, and give only indicative results
  • The results from this tool do not replace a full impact assessment
  • This tool can be used in two ways – firstly you can undertake a very simple analysis by accepting the default values. Secondly, to undertake a more detailed analysis you will need technical knowledge of the field
  • WARNING: By changing the parameters, you can significantly change the results. If someone presents you data from the tool, you must ask them what values they have used and why
  • Different methodologies can be used for life cycle assessment (LCA) analysis that will alter the results. To read about the assumptions and methods used in this tool read the manual
  • The parameters were calculated for conditions within the UK and include only bioenergy crops which can be grown in the UK. It should not, therefore, be assumed that results are transferable to situations in other countries
  • The tool warns of the environmental impacts of growing bioenergy crops under certain conditions, this should not be generalised to apply to all conditions and mitigation options should always be considered
  • Unrealistic results can be obtained through using unrealistic inputs. Input values should always be examined
  • All the data for each calculation can be found in the results section of the tool
  • It should not be assumed that the tool provides definitive answers either for or against the development of bioenergy as the tool does not exhaustively consider all parameters. Options for mitigation of negative impacts should be considered as should potential negative impacts not covered by the tool

Before you begin

In order to use this tool correctly, you must read the short set of instructions provided above. For more detailed instructions and information on how the tool was developed, including the assumptions you should read the full manual (also see above).

Legal Disclaimer

DEFRA, the Environment Agency, the Biomass Energy Centre, Forest Research, AEA and North Energy Associates accept no liability whatsoever to any third party for any loss or damage arising from any use of or reliance on the BEAT2 tool.

This BEAT2 tool is provided free of charge by DEFRA, the Biomass Energy Centre and the Environment Agency to enable users to assess complete biomass supply chains, currently relevant to the UK, for greenhouse gas emissions and potential environmental impacts. It provides the user with an indication of the likely impacts and benefits of different UK biomass options in specific situations, but does not replace the need for a full impact assessment of individual plants. It is not designed to support the drawing of generalised conclusions for all biomass options. In addition, as BEAT2 does not control the parameters entered by users, neither DEFRA nor the Environment Agency can be taken to endorse any results obtained.