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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

66 4 Environmental

66 4 Environmental results: presentation, discussion and interpretation 4.3.3 Ecological aspects I: land use efficiency Use of fossil fuels Greenhouse effect Acidification Eutrophication Summer smog Nitrous oxide** Human toxicity** * How to interpret the diagram Advantages for biofuel Triticale Willow Miscanthus RME SME ETBE Advantages for fossil fuel -6000 -4000 -2000 0 2000 4000 European inhabitant equivalents* per 1,000 ha The figure shows the results of complete life cycle comparisons where RME, triticale, willow, Miscanthus, ETBE and SME respectively are used for energy production instead of their respective fossil counterparts. The results are given for an area of 1,000 ha being cultivated with the respective crop. In this case for example the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that is being saved when 1,000 ha of Miscanthus are cultivated and used to substitute light oil, is equal to the amount which about 1,500 European citizens would on average generate in one year. (This is what is meant by “European inhabitant equivalents”.) Remarks and conclusions Comparing the six investigated bioenergy carriers (in turn compared to their fossil counterparts) against each other, the following result emerges: • Use of fossil fuels and greenhouse effect: all biofuels are advantageous. Triticale reveals by far the highest benefits. RME and SME show the smallest advantages. • Acidification: nearly all biofuels show disadvantages, Miscanthus the greatest, SME the smallest. The result for triticale is non-significant. • Eutrophication: all biofuels show disadvantages, triticale the greatest. • Summer smog: triticale and willow show advantages, Miscanthus show a disadvantage. The results for RME, SME and ETBE are non-significant. The data for nitrous oxide 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) All in all, RME appears to have the least favourable results compared to the other biofuels. Regarding the other biofuels, a clear ranking is not possible. A further assessment in favour of or against one of the biofuels 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.

4.3 European results: biofuels for specific objectives 67 4.3.4 Ecological aspects II: impacts related to saved energy Greenhouse effect Acidification Eutrophication Summer smog Nitrous oxide** Human toxicity** -1530 * How to interpret the diagram Advantages for biofuel Triticale Willow Miscanthus RME SME ETBE Firewood Straw Biogas Advantages for fossil fuel -1500 -1000 -500 0 500 1000 1500 European inhabitant equivalents* per 100 TJ of fossil energy saved The figure shows the results of complete life cycle comparisons where all investigated biofuels are used for energy production instead of their respective fossil counterparts. The results for the various categories are given with reference to the category use of fossil fuels, i.e. 100 TJ of fossil energy saved. For example, for every 100 TJ of fossil energy saved through the substitution of diesel fuel by RME, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions avoided is equal to those on average generated by about 300 inhabitants of Europe in one year. (This is what is meant by “European inhabitant equivalents”.) Remarks and conclusions Comparing the investigated bioenergy carriers (in turn compared to their fossil counterparts) against each other, the following result emerges: • Greenhouse effect: all biofuels have advantages over the fossil fuels. This effect is by far the greatest for biogas, followed by triticale and lowest for RME. • Acidification: apart from firewood and triticale all biofuels have negative impacts in this category, particularly biogas and RME. For firewood and triticale the results are non-significant. • Eutrophication: only SME shows an advantage. • Summer smog: biogas, willow and triticale show slight advantages, wheat straw and Miscanthus show slight disadvantages. The results of RME, SME and ETBE as well as for firewood are nonsignificant. 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.) For most of the biofuels a negative “side-effect” results compared to the fossil fuels regarding most of the categories apart from the greenhouse effect. RME shows the worst results compared to all other biofuels except for Miscanthus and wheat straw with regard to the category summer smog. The results for all other biofuels are more ambiguous. Thus for every MJ fossil energy saved, an additional ozone depletion effect results for all biofuels except for firewood. For SME and RME this effect is relatively 9088 5012

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