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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

126 7 Annex Willow

126 7 Annex Willow versus light oil / natural gas for district heat 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 Light oil Natural gas -800 -400 0 400 800 1200 German inhabitant equivalents* per 100 TJ The figure shows the results of comparisons between complete life cycles where light oil and natural gas respectively are substituted by willow for heat production. The unit refers to an amount of 100 TJ of heat. This is equivalent to the average heat requirement of about 25,000 inhabitants of Germany in one year or a willow production of about 900 ha/a. In this case for example the amount of fossil fuel saved if Miscanthus replaces either of the fossil fuels is equal to the amount which about 700 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 willow as well as light oil and natural gas have certain ecological advantages and disadvantages. • Advantages of the biofuel: use of fossil fuels, greenhouse effect, summer smog • Advantages of the fossil fuel: acidification, eutrophication • Low or no significance: – 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 willow or light oil / natural gas 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.

7.1 Country specific life cycle comparisons 127 Miscanthus versus light oil / natural gas for district heat 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 Light oil Natural gas -1000 0 1000 2000 German inhabitant equivalents* per 100 TJ The figure shows the results of comparisons between complete life cycles where light oil and natural gas respectively are substituted by Miscanthus for heat production. The unit refers to an amount of 100 TJ of heat. This is equivalent to the average heat requirement of about 25,000 inhabitants of Germany in one year or a Miscanthus production of about 450 ha/a. In this case for example the amount of fossil fuel saved if light oil is substituted by Miscanthus is equal to the amount which nearly 700 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 Miscanthus as well as light oil and natural gas have certain ecological advantages and disadvantages. • Advantages of the biofuel: use of fossil fuels, greenhouse effect, compared to natural gas also summer smog (small) • Advantages of the fossil fuel: acidification, eutrophication, compared to light oil also summer smog (small) • Low or no significance: – 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 Miscanthus or light oil / natural gas 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.

Bioenergy Update 10-02 - General*Bioenergy