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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

54 4 Environmental

54 4 Environmental results: presentation, discussion and interpretation 4.2.3 Miscanthus 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 -500 0 500 1000 1500 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 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 4,000 inhabitants of Europe 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 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 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.

4.2 European results: biofuels compared to fossil fuels 55 4.2.4 RME versus diesel fuel for transportation 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 10162 -1000 -800 -600 -400 -200 0 200 400 600 800 1000 European inhabitant equivalents* per 100 million km The figure shows the results of complete life cycle comparisons where RME is used in passenger cars instead of diesel fuel. The results are given for a distance of 100 million km being covered by passenger cars using the biofuel instead of fossil fuel. This is equivalent to the average annual mileage of about 4,000 Europeans. In this case for example the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that is being saved by substituting diesel fuel by RME is equal to the amount which about 700 European citizens would on average generate in one year (this is what is meant by “European inhabitant equivalents”). Remarks and conclusions The results show that both RME as well as diesel fuel have certain ecological advantages and disadvantages. • Advantages of the biofuel: use of fossil fuels, greenhouse effect • Advantages of the fossil fuel: acidification, eutrophication • Low or no significance: summer smog 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 RME or diesel fuel 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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