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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

52 4 Environmental

52 4 Environmental results: presentation, discussion and interpretation 4.2.1 Triticale versus hard coal for electricity production 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 -8000 -6000 -4000 -2000 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 European 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 20,000 inhabitants of Europe 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 nearly 6,000 European citizens would on average consume in one year (this is what is meant by “European 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.

4.2 European results: biofuels compared to fossil fuels 53 4.2.2 Willow versus light oil / natural gas for district heat production 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 -800 -600 -400 -200 0 200 400 600 800 1000 European 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 4,000 inhabitants of Europe in one year or a willow production of about 900 ha/a. In this case for example the amount of fossil fuel saved if willow replaces either of the fossil fuels is equal to the amount which nearly 800 European citizens would on average consume in one year (this is what is meant by “European 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 (small) • 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.

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