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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

124 7 Annex 7.1.4

124 7 Annex 7.1.4 Country specific results – Germany Within the context of this project, the various participating countries investigated different biofuels in comparison to their respective fossil counterparts, as was explained in Chapter 2. While the results for the whole of Europe are presented in Chapter 4, in this chapter the results for the individual countries are presented, on which the German results are based. In the following section the results for all those life cycle comparisons are presented that were investigated in Germany. These are: • Triticale versus coal • Willow versus light oil and natural gas • Miscanthus versus light oil and natural gas • Rape seed oil methyl ester versus fossil diesel fuel • ETBE from sugar beet versus MTBE • Wheat straw versus light oil and natural gas In addition, for each country comparisons between its various biofuels have been carried out in order to assess which one is the most suitable in ecological terms for a specific objective. This lead to a number of different questions, in the light of which the various biofuels were compared. Germany looked at four of these, namely: • Technical applications • Heat production: willow, Miscanthus and straw • Transport: RME and ETBE • Ecological aspects • Efficiency of land use: triticale, willow, Miscanthus, RME and ETBE • Impacts related to saved energy: triticale, willow, Miscanthus, RME, ETBE and straw For more information on these comparisons the reader is referred to Chapter 2. As for the German chains, the life cycle comparisons were carried out with regard to specific environmental impact parameters. These were: • Use of fossil fuels • Greenhouse effect • Acidification • Eutrophication • Summer smog • Nitrous oxide • Human toxicity The criteria according to which these were selected as well as an explanation of their meanings can be found in the Chapters 3.3 and 3.4. For reasons of clarity of presentation, the results of minimum-maximum evaluations have not been presented in the result graphs. For more information on this the reader is referred to Chapter 4.1.3.

7.1 Country specific life cycle comparisons 125 Triticale versus hard coal for electricity production – Germany Use of fossil fuels Greenhouse effect Acidification Eutrophication Summer smog Nitrous oxide** Human toxicity** * How to interpret the diagram Advantages for biofuel Advantages for fossil fuel -10000 -5000 0 5000 10000 15000 German inhabitant equivalents* per 100 million kWh The figure shows the results of comparisons between complete life cycles where hard coal is substituted by triticale for electricity generation. The unit refers to an amount of one hundred million kWh of electricity. This is equivalent to the average electricity requirement of about 15,000 inhabitants in Germany in one year, or a triticale production of about 5,500 ha/a. In this case for example the amount of fossil fuel saved is equal to the amount which about 5,000 German citizens would on average consume in one year (this is what is meant by “German inhabitant equivalents”). Remarks and conclusions The results show that both triticale as well as hard coal have certain ecological advantages and disadvantages. • Advantages of the biofuel: use of fossil fuels, greenhouse effect and summer smog (small) • Advantages of the fossil fuel: eutrophication • Low or no significance: acidification The data for ozone depletion and human toxicity tend to have a high uncertainty. Therefore these categories should not be included in the final assessment. (**See Chapter 4.1.2 and for details on all impact categories 3.3 and 3.4.) A further assessment in favour of or against triticale or hard coal cannot be carried out on a scientific basis, because for this purpose subjective value judgements regarding the individual environmental categories are required which differ from person to person.

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