109 research outputs found

    Barriers to European bioenergy expansion

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    The European Commission has set challenging targets for renewable energy expansion in Europe as part of its strategy to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Expansion of existing bioenergy capacity has a key role to play in ensuring these targets are met. However, significant technical and non-technical barriers to deployment of biomass technologies remain throughout Europe, the latter often being more difficult to address. Non-technical barriers are fundamental obstacles to biomass development. They represent limits or boundaries to the extent of deployment, often related to institutional frameworks, perceptions, socio-economic issues or engagement of and interfaces with related technology sectors. This paper presents an analysis, characterization and prioritization of the current non-technical barriers to thermo-chemical bioenergy expansion in Europe. Policy, economics and stakeholder understanding are strategically important if bioenergy potential is to be realized. Detailed policy evaluation with case study history from 4 European member states shows continuity of policy instruments is critical and specific support instruments work better than more general mechanisms. Improved stakeholder understanding (with the general public as a relevant stakeholder group) is key to increasing the acceptability of bioenergy. This requires different parallel strategies for different sectors/target groups. Promotional campaigns, dissemination of information to key multipliers, provision of independent factual information to the public, appropriate frameworks for handling approvals for new plants, forums for stakeholder interaction and certification schemes all have a role to play in improving bioenergy acceptability

    Maximizing the greenhouse gas reductions from biomass: The role of life cycle assessment

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    Biomass can deliver significant greenhouse gas reductions in electricity, heat and transport fuel supply. However, our biomass resource is limited and should be used to deliver the most strategic and significant impacts. The relative greenhouse gas reduction merits of different bioenergy systems (for electricity, heat, chemical and biochar production) were examined on a common, scientific basis using consistent life cycle assessment methodology, scope of system and assumptions. The results show that bioenergy delivers substantial and cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions. Large scale electricity systems deliver the largest absolute reductions in greenhouse gases per unit of energy generated, while medium scale wood chip district heating boilers result in the highest level of greenhouse gas reductions per unit of harvested biomass. However, ammonia and biochar systems deliver the most cost effective carbon reductions, while biochar systems potentially deliver the highest greenhouse gas reductions per unit area of land. The system that achieves the largest reduction in greenhouse gases per unit of energy does not also deliver the highest greenhouse gas reduction per unit of biomass. So policy mechanisms that incentivize the reductions in the carbon intensity of energy may not result in the best use of the available resource. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a flexible tool that can be used to answer a wide variety of different policy-relevant, LCA “questions”, but it is essential that care is taken to formulate the actual question being asked and adapt the LCA methodology to suit the context and objective

    A review of the role of bioenergy modelling in renewable energy research & policy development

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    Transition towards renewable low carbon energy is a fundamental element of climate change mitigation, energy from biomass technologies are targeted within many country's decarbonisation strategies. Decision makers globally face many challenges developing strategies to drive this transition; models are increasingly used to road-test policy interventions before their implemented. A Bioenergy Literature Database was developed of 124,285 papers published 2000–2018. These document an exponential rise in research focusing on biomass and bioenergy. On average 35.4% of papers apply modelling analyses, 99.5% of these use bespoke models rather than high profile Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) or Energy System Models – although it is these high profile models that are widely used in policy development. A review of the role of bioenergy within energy models is undertaken with a key objective of critiquing their performances in analysing bioenergy research questions. IAMs are found to be widely applied to investigate the impact of bioenergy within wider energy and environmental systems, e.g. for reducing emissions. Energy System Models focus on bioenergy processes, technologies and feedstocks, although don't capture wider environmental, economic and social themes. Specialist Bioenergy Models offer methods for bespoke analyses of all bioenergy issues, their narrow system boundaries generate targeted outputs but wider effects such as land-use change may not be captured. Caution is required when interpreting modelling outputs, particularly when used to inform policy. It's not feasible to develop all-encompassing bioenergy models covering all nuances between systems, but there is strong argument for using multiple models in parallel to build robust overall conclusions