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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

158 7 Annex 7.2

158 7 Annex 7.2 Comparisons between the countries for each biofuel 7.2.1 Introduction Within this project, the various participating countries investigated several biofuels as explained in detail in Chapter 2. Each biofuel was investigated by at least three countries (with the exception of hemp which was only investigated by the Netherlands). The various countries carried out their life cycle comparisons individually, taking into account country specific conditions and data. Thus certain differences are bound to exist in the results, caused by different climatic conditions as well as socio-economic and technological ones. These include for example soil fertility and rain fall, topography, field size and crop yields, which together lead to differences in agricultural practices and the ratio of input to crop yield. The following chapters show chain by chain the results for the individual countries and the EU together and give short remarks on the differences. For the result presentation of the biofuel comparisons between the countries a different format has been chosen than for the European and the country specific results: the relative differences of the impacts related to the fossil fuel. The respective figures regarding the environmental effects of the fossil fuels were subtracted from those of the biofuels, and this value was divided by the figures for the fossil fuels (in this case the reference unit was 1 MJ). This procedure allows a comparison of country specific results and of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the biofuels compared to the fossil fuels. The differences between the impacts of the biofuels can be categorised as follows: 1. For a certain country various input data for several processes are greater/smaller than for the other countries, so that the sum of the effects of these processes and their aggregation leads to significant differences between the countries. 2. For a certain country a few input data of one process are much greater/smaller than for the other countries, so that this process dominates the balance of the inventory and impact assessment. Only the second category of differences will be discussed. Table 7-2 summarises the various life cycle comparisons investigated. Table 7-2 life cycle comparisons investigated Life cycle comparison Countries involved Traditional firewood vs. light oil Austria, Italy, Switzerland Triticale vs. coal Austria, Denmark, France, Germany Miscanthus vs. light oil Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands Willow vs. light oil Denmark, Germany, Netherlands Wheat straw vs. light oil Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece Biogas from swine excrements vs. natural gas Austria, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland Rape seed oil methyl ester vs. fossil diesel fuel Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland Sunflower oil methyl ester vs. fossil diesel fuel France, Greece, Italy ETBE from sugar beet vs. MTBE France, Germany, Netherlands With regard to the life cycle comparisons concerning traditional firewood, Miscanthus, willow and wheat straw, only light oil was considered here. The differences between the comparisons with natural gas can be deduced from the relevant sections in Chapters 4.3 and 7.1 respectively. The impact categories human toxicity and nitrous oxide will be shown without remarks because of the high uncertainty of the individual results and therefore coincidental character of differences among the countries. For more information on the life cycle comparisons carried out see Chapter 2. For information regarding the selected impact parameters the reader is referred to the Chapters 3.3 and 3.4 as well as Chapter 4.1.2.

7.2 Comparisons between the countries for each biofuel 159 7.2.2 Triticale versus hard coal for electricity production: relative impact differences related to fossil fuels 500% 400% 300% 200% 100% 0% -100% Use of fossil fuels Greenhouse effect How to interpret the diagram Ozone Depletion by N2O Acidification Eutrophication Summer smog Human toxicity Austria Denmark France Germany Europe Environmental advantages and disadvantages of triticale compared to hard coal for each country involved as well as for Europe are shown by relative differences between the biofuels and the fossil fuel: (biofuel – fossil fuel) / fossil fuel. The zero line indicates the level for fossil fuels. The zero line indicates the level for fossil fuels. Therefore negative values indicate advantages for triticale and positive ones represent advantages for hard coal. For example, assuming the production and combustion of fossil fuel causes an emission of 1 kg of N2O (Ozone depletion), then a value of -100 % means no net N2O emissions in the case of the biofuel, 0 % means 1 kg N2O (i.e. the same as the fossil fuel), 100 % means 2 kg N2O and so on. Remarks and conclusions Regarding the parameters use of fossil fuels and greenhouse effect, the results are similar for all four countries. Regarding ozone depletion and eutrophication, Germany shows the highest value and Denmark and France respectively the lowest. The overall pattern of ozone depletion is determined by the ratio N fertiliser/yield. That of eutrophication is caused by the nitrate emissions to water (very low in France) and the NOX emission factors of the combustion (very high in Denmark). For summer smog Denmark stands out with an exceptionally high impact. This is due to extremely high methane and NMHC emissions from combustion. Since this cannot be regarded as being typical for other countries in Europe, the results of the Danish chain have been used only for Denmark but not as defaults for other countries (like Finland or the Netherlands) for calculating the European means. Most of the other differences are rather small and to be regarded as less significant.

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