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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

10 1 Goals, target

10 1 Goals, target groups and general information Target group The main target groups of this study are intended to be relevant decision makers in the European Commission directorates and in national ministries for agriculture, energy and the environment in each country involved. The results may furthermore be relevant to other European countries and organisations as well as other national ministries interested in the aspects of the subject covered here. Since the project was aimed to produce results on a European level, the emphasis was laid on results relating to whole countries rather than individual regions within countries. General information on the project The project was partially funded by the European Community over a period of 2 years (1998–2000) within the framework of the FAIR V program. The remaining funds were provided by various institutions within each respective country. The work carried out by CLM was co-financed by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, and the Netherlands Agency for Energy and Environment (NOVEM). The contributions of FAT were fully supported by the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science. This is a co-operative project involving seven of the EU member states as well as Switzerland, each represented by a relevant scientific institute. These are: Austria: BLT – Federal Institute for Agricultural Engineering Denmark: TUD – Technical University of Denmark France: INRA – National Institute of Agronomic Research Germany: IFEU – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg (project coordinator) Greece: CRES – Centre for Renewable Energy Sources Italy: CTI – Italian Thermotechnical Committee Netherlands: CLM – Centre for Agriculture and Environment Switzerland: FAL – Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture (since Oct. 1999) FAT – Swiss Federal Research Station for Agricultural Economics and Engineering The addresses of these institutes can be found in Annex 7.4. Biofuels under concern Ten biofuels were investigated that are either cultivated or stem from agricultural or forestry residues. They are listed below. For the various countries different ones of these were investigated. For details see Chapter 2. • Triticale for co-firing for electricity • Willow for district heating • Miscanthus for district heating • Rape seed oil methyl ester (RME) for transportation • Sunflower oil methyl ester (SME) for transportation • ETBE from sugar beet for transportation • Traditional firewood for residential heating • Wheat straw for district heating • Biogas from swine excrements for heat and electricity • Hemp gasification for electricity Design of the study The assessment of the biofuels investigated was carried out using available data in order to carry out complete life cycle analyses (LCA) of the biofuels and fossil fuels respectively. The different countries first identified the most relevant specific biofuels to be investigated. The environmental aspect of this

1 Goals, target groups and general information 11 study was done in correspondence with the LCA-standards ISO 14040 – 14043. In agreement with all project partners, a critical external review in accordance with these standards was not carried out. The biofuels were compared against conventional fossil fuels as well as other biofuels by means of full life cycle analyses based on life cycle inventories and impact assessments. The procedure consisted of the following steps: • Preparatory assessment: this identified all quantifiable results of impact categories and environmental parameters that were scientifically reliable enough to qualify for further assessment. • Comparison between biofuels and fossil fuels: here all biofuels investigated by the respective country and the EU were compared against equivalent types of fossil fuels, e. g. rape seed oil methyl ester (RME) versus conventional diesel. • Comparison among different biofuels: this involved a comparison of all relevant biofuels against each other in order to establish which ones perform best with regard to which parameters and for which purpose (e. g. transportation or heat). • Socio-economic and political analyses: in order to complement the detailed ecological analysis, in this step socio-economic and political analyses were carried out on the basis of a general overview without a claim for completeness. These included e. g. an analysis of the costs involved in producing each biofuel as well as an estimate of the visual impact on the landscape. • Conclusions: these were given in different ways according to the nature of the results. The country specific results were considered as well as the European ones. Specific recommendations for “the one best fuel” could not be made. The life cycle comparisons considered all processes involved in producing and utilising a particular fuel, which for the agriculturally produced biofuels included the production and application of fertiliser, pesticides, use of machinery etc. as well as so-called reference systems taking into account the use of land if no bioenergy crop is cultivated. A range of environmental parameters was assessed. These were aggregated into the following impact categories/parameters: • Use of fossil fuels • Greenhouse effect • Acidification • Eutrophication • Summer smog • Nitrous oxide • Human toxicity Furthermore, the category biodiversity and soil quality was investigated on the basis of certain quantifiable indicators. The selection of environmental parameters and impact categories is described in Chapters 3.3 and 3.4 respectively. The focus of this study was not the development of new methodological approaches. Instead, its aim was to provide – for the first time – a comprehensive report covering a wide range of environmental impacts for the most important biofuels for all participating countries of the Community. The conclusions are not intended to provide definitive decisions as to which fuels perform best in an absolute sense, since this is naturally open to subjective judgement, depending on which environmental or other aspects priority is given. The presentation of the results is designed to enable each decision maker to consult a scientifically reliable decision base regarding particular questions related to the substitution of fossil fuels by biofuels.

Bioenergy Update 10-02 - General*Bioenergy