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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

22 2 Biofuels under

22 2 Biofuels under study 2.5 Life cycles of biofuels from residues 2.5.1 Traditional firewood Figure 2-8 shows the life cycle of traditional firewood from forestry residues in form of wood logs. A comparison was carried out with two fossil fuels: light oil and natural gas. The utilisation of the firewood is for residential heat production. The left hand side of the diagram shows the various steps of conventional fuel production, whereas the right hand column represents the biofuel chain. These factors are described in some more detail below. Natural gas production Winning of natural gas Desulphurisation Transport (Pipeline) Combustion alternatively instead of oil production Light oil production Winning of crude oil Transport (Pipeline, Tanker) Refining Transport to end user Combustion Firewood production Forw arding of wood Cutting Transport Combustion Figure 2-8 Schematic life cycle comparison of firewood for heat production versus light oil and natural gas respectively Details of the life cycle steps Fossil fuel chain: The crude oil is extracted in OPEC-countries and transported to Europe using average distances. In Europe the oil is refined in order to produce light oil for combustion in heating plants. The alternative fossil fuel chain is that for natural gas. In this case the gas is exploited in Norway and the Confederation of Independent States (in equal shares) transported and compressed, processed and distributed to the end user. Combustion takes place in small-scale residential heating systems. These assumptions are based on expert judgements and are considered to represent the marginal technology. Biofuel chain: Since firewood is a residue of forestry, there are no credits to be taken into account. The reference system in this case is to leave the wood in the forest. Therefore only the additional processes associated with firewood production are considered: the wood is forwarded to a storage place, cut and transported to the end user. Utilisation: All three fuels are balanced with regard to combustion for residential heating on the basis of MJ heat output.

2.5 Life cycles of biofuels from residues 23 2.5.2 Wheat straw Figure 2-9 shows the life cycle of wheat straw from crop residues. A comparison was carried out with two fossil fuels: light oil and natural gas. The utilisation of the wheat straw is combustion for district heating. The left hand side of the diagram shows the various steps of conventional fuel production, whereas the right hand column represents the biofuel chain. These factors are described in some more detail below. Natural gas production Winning of natural gas Desulphurisation Transport (Pipeline) Combustion alternatively instead of oil production Light oil production Winning of crude oil Transport (Pipeline, Tanker) Refining Transport to end user Combustion Wheat straw production Straw baling Transport Storage Transport to combustion plant Combustion Credits Straw remains as fertiliser on the field Figure 2-9 Schematic life cycle comparison of wheat straw for heat production versus light oil and natural gas respectively Details of the life cycle steps Fossil fuel chain: The crude oil is extracted in OPEC-countries and transported to Europe using average distances. In Europe the oil is refined in order to produce light oil for combustion in heating plants. The alternative fossil fuel chain is that for natural gas. In this case the gas is exploited in Norway and the Confederation of Independent States (in equal shares), transported and compressed, processed and distributed to the end user. Combustion takes place in small-scale residential heating systems. These assumptions are based on expert judgements and are considered to represent the marginal technology. Biofuel chain: Since wheat straw is a co-product of grain production, the effects of agricultural production are not taken into account. The reference system is to leave the straw in the field as a fertiliser. Only the additional processes associated with wheat straw utilisation are considered, such as baling, storage and transport. The disposal of the ash is also taken into account. Utilisation: All three fuels are balanced with regard to combustion for residential heating on the basis of MJ heat output.

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