A sustainable transition of the energy system towards and increasing share of bioenergy

Bioenergy - Forskarskola energisystem

In this project we investigate the importance of biomass in a long-term sustainable energy system. Focus is on forest-based biorefineries and on the transition to a bio-based economy, and on developing a knowledge and model framework related to forest biomass and the implementation of biorefineries.

The project is structured around three interrelated PhD projects:

  1. Technologies and value chains (Johan Ahlström, Energy Technology, Chalmers)
  2. Localization and industrial change (Jonas Zetterholm, Energy Engineering, Luleå University of Technology)
  3. Markets and price determination (Elina Bryngemark, Economics, Luleå University of Technology)

A number of key joint issues and challenges are in focus for the three PhD projects, in particular related to how emerging biorefinery concepts can be evaluated at an early stage (ex-ante) regarding e.g. technology choice, feedstocks, process integration and geographic aspects, and how different scientific approaches, methods and models can be combined.

Aim of the project

The objectives are to: (1) contribute to the provision of skills and the development of systems analysis research in Sweden and (2) contribute with new knowledge to the sustainable transformation of the Swedish energy system.

Selection of results

A joint analytic framework has been developed to link different types of models. The framework can be used to evaluate different biorefinery concepts regarding technology representation, value chains, geographic aspects and dynamic price formulation for biomass markets. A selection of other results from the project:
  • Future electricity grids with high shares of intermittent production can be combined with biomass gasification and production of biofuels (e.g. synthetic natural gas, SNG) can contribute to grid balancing.
  • High conversion efficiency from biomass to biofuels is more important than economy of scale effects for integrated biofuel production based on black liquor gasification, if biorefinery processes can thus replace existing capital-intensive industrial process equipment.
  • Increased bioenergy demand from the Swedish forest raw material market will lead to intensified feedstock competition, in particular regarding forest industry by-products. When an increased bioenergy demand is combined with targets for biodiversity and forest protection, the competition is further intensified which results in significant market consequences.

Project time

The project started in 2015 and will end in December 2020.

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Doctoral thesis

Elina Bryngemark (2021) The Economics of Biofuel Development: Policy Incentives and Market Impacts

Johan Ahlström (2020). Shaping Future Opportunities for Biomass Gasification - The Role of Integration.

Academic theses

Bryngemark E (2019). The Competition for Forest Raw Materials in the Presence of Increased Bioenergy Demand. Licentiate thesis, LTU.

Zetterholm (2018). Forest based biorefinery supply chains - Identification and evaluation of economic, CO2, and resource efficiency. Licentiate thesis, LTU.

Ahlström J (2018). Cost-Effective Pathways for Gasification-Based Production of Biofuels. Licentiate thesis, Chalmers.

Scientific publications

Ahlström J, Johansson V, Göransson L, Papadokonstantakis S (2019). Integration of power-to-gas concepts with biomass gasification in the Swedish electricity grid. Presenterad vid ECCE 12, Florence, 15-19 september 2019.

Ahlström J, Petersson I, Svensson A, Harvey S, Papadokonstantakis S (2019. Decentralized plastic waste recycling through pyrolysis – a feasibility study. Presenterad vid ICFMCE, Bangkok, 15-17 december 2019.

Bryngemark (2019). Second generation biofuels and the competition for forest raw materials: A partial equilibrium analysis of Sweden. Forest Policy and Economics 109:102022

Zetterholm J, Mossberg J, Lundgren J, Wetterlund E (2019). Evaluating investments in integrated biofuel production - factoring in uncertainty through real options analysis. Presenterad vid ECOS 2019, Wrocław, Poland.

Ahlström J et al. (2019). Bark as feedstock for dual fluidized bed gasifiers – operability, efficiency and economics. International Journal of Energy Research 43(3), pp. 1171-1190. 

Zetterholm J, Wetterlund E, Pettersson K, Lundgren J (2018). Evaluation of value chain configurations for fast pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass - Integration, feedstock, and product choice, Energy 144, pp. 564-575.

Zetterholm J, Pettersson K, Leduc S, Mesfun S, Lundgren J, Wetterlund E (2018). Resource efficiency or economy of scale: Biorefinery supply chain configurations for co-gasification of black liquor and pyrolysis liquids. Applied Energy 230, pp. 912-924.

Ahlström J, Harvey S, Papadokonstantakis S (2018). Forest residues gasification integrated with electrolysis for production of SNG – modelling and assessment. Computer Aided Chemical Engineering 44, pp.109-114.

Ahlström J, Pettersson K, Wetterlund E, Harvey S (2017). Value chains for integrated production of liquefied bio-SNG at sawmill sites – Techno-economic and carbon footprint evaluation. Applied Energy 206, pp. 1590-1608.

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