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Drivers for and barriers to biogas use in manufacturing, road transport and shipping: a demand-side perspective
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7131-7353
2022 (English)In: Biofuels, ISSN 1759-7269, E-ISSN 1759-7277, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 177-188Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contemporary environmental problems require a transition to renewable energy. Biogas is one alternative, which besides being renewable has many other benefits. For further expansion of biogas production, it seems necessary to develop new areas of biogas usage where biogas can replace fossil fuels. This article presents an analysis of the drivers for and barriers to increased biogas usage in three sectors where biogas usage is undeveloped in Sweden: manufacturing, road transport and shipping. Several of the identified drivers and barriers, such as unstable and short-term policies, lack of infrastructure, and contract requirements, have also been found in previous studies even though they may be slightly different depending on the context. A new driver observed in this study is that of intergenerational thinking in family-owned businesses. The study also reiterates the significant influence of policy in the form of subsidies, tax exemptions and regulations on the adoption and use of renewable energy in general and biogas specifically. The results suggest the need for future policymaking to be guided by long-term trajectories, which can be a relevant basis for adopters to make investments into biogas technologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis , 2022. Vol. 13, no 2, p. 177-188
Keywords [en]
Renewable energy, diffusion, biogas, Sweden
National Category
Bioenergy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162032DOI: 10.1080/17597269.2019.1657661ISI: 000492055300001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-162032DiVA, id: diva2:1370865
Note

Funding Agencies|Biogas Research Center (BRC); Environmental Bus Project; Swedish Energy AgencySwedish Energy Agency; Linkoping University; VinnovaVinnova; SLU

Available from: 2019-11-18 Created: 2019-11-18 Last updated: 2022-09-26
In thesis
1. The role of biogas in a more sustainable energy system in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of biogas in a more sustainable energy system in Sweden
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are numerous problems in the world that need to be dealt with in order to achieve sustainable development. The energy system has significant negative impacts on many of these problems, and there is a need for a transition towards more sustainable energy. Sweden has already started this transition and is using large amounts of renewable energy. However, within the transport sector and the manufacturing sector in particular, large amounts of fossil fuels are still used. Biogas is one alternative that can help solve several sustainability problems and that could be part of a future more sustainable energy system. However, it is not certain what biogas is most suitable to be used for.

The aim of this thesis is to investigate how biogas should be used in a future more sustainable energy system, by answering three research questions: 1) In what ways can biogas be used in a more sustainable energy system? 2) How can we assess whether biogas is suitable in a specific context? and 3) What determines whether it is easy or difficult for a user to start using biogas? These questions are explored in a Swedish context using four appended articles, which are based on two collaborative projects using a combination of workshops, literature reviews and interviews.

Biogas can be used for heat, electricity or fuel in the manufacturing or transport sector. In Sweden, heat and electricity are mainly of interest for smaller production scales, while production on larger scales will likely be dominated by upgrading mostly to CBG but also to LBG. CBG can be used for less energy-intensive purposes, such as cars or buses, while the growing interest in LBG in Sweden may open up new market segments for biogas which are more energy-intensive, such as heavy trucks or shipping, or in geographical locations that are further away from the site of production.

Several sustainability assessment methods exist that can be used to evaluate whether biogas is suitable in a specific context, such as multi-criteria assessments or scenario analyses. These methods can include a number of different aspects that are relevant to biogas use, such as GHG emissions, safety issues, and the vitality of the surrounding region. In order to introduce biogas, six main factors were identified that can make this easier or more difficult: technical maturity, tank volume, distance between the producer and the user, scale of energy use, policies and costs, and strategies of individual organizations.

Overall, the rise in LBG production creates new opportunities for biogas use in both geographical and usage areas that did not previously use biogas. There is no simple answer to what biogas should be used for in the future – rather, this depends on the circumstances. It is also possible that the usage areas that are most suitable now for biogas might not be the most suitable areas in the future, depending on developments within, for example, the electricity system and hydrogen. However, CBG and LBG are likely to dominate biogas production in Sweden until then.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2019. p. 61
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Licentiate Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1861
Keywords
Biogas, CBG, LBG, Energy users, Sustainable transitions, Sustainability assessments
National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162033 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-162033 (DOI)9789179299460 (ISBN)
Presentation
2019-12-05, ACAS, Hus A, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-11-18 Created: 2019-11-18 Last updated: 2019-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Decision-making and decision support connected to biogas use in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Decision-making and decision support connected to biogas use in Sweden
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Human activities cause many sustainability challenges in the world, which need to be dealt with. One way to decrease the negative impacts related to those challenges is by replacing currently dominating technologies with better, alternative technologies. However, such shifts are not easy to achieve – for example, each new user has to make a decision to start using the technology.The aim of this thesis is to contribute to a greater understanding of what the decisions to use alternative technologies are based on and how the decisions can be supported. In order to achieve this aim, the thesis focuses on the decisions of private companies’ and public organizations in Sweden of whether or not to use biogas in Sweden. The thesis is based upon six appended papers, which are used for addressing three research questions: How do biogas compare to other potential alternatives? Why do decision-makers in Sweden find it interesting to use biogas, and what makes them hesitant? And, how can decision support be used in decision-making to deal with complexities connected to biogas decisions?It is concluded that biogas has environmental and social advantages compared to several other renewable alternatives, but that it can be more expensive. The technical maturity of biogas use depends partly upon the usage area – biomethane buses is a mature area while heavy trucks is less mature. Biogas is perceived by decision-makers as a good environmental option and a better long-term solution than several other renewable alternatives since there are investments done and since the policymakers seem positive towards biogas. Public organizations tend to look at the broader positive aspects of biogas, such as energy security and nutrient recovery, while private companies tend to be more focused on biogas as an environmental action that can benefit the image of the company. However, decision-makers can be hesitant towards biogas due to economic or policy aspects or a lack of technical maturity. The decision-makers can also experience a lack of knowledge that makes them uncertain about biogas. Decision support can help the decision-makers in different ways, with different tools being more suitable for different parts of the complexities connected to biogas decisions. Multi-criteria assessments can help the decision-maker focus on several impacts at once and making the decision process transparent for trade-offs, while socio-technical scenarios can help the decision-maker understand how the wanted changes can be realized.

Abstract [sv]

Mänskliga aktiviteter orsakar många hållbarhetsproblem i världen, vilka behöver hanteras för att vi ska få en hållbar värld och ett hållbart samhälle. Ett sätt att hantera dessa problem och minska den negativa påverkan vi människor har är att byta till att använda bättre tekniker istället för de tekniker som används idag. Sådana förändringar är dock inte helt enkelt att vare sig genomföra eller påverka, och för att öka användningen av en bättre teknik måste till exempel varje ny användare ta ett beslut om att använda tekniken.Målet med den här avhandlingen är att hjälpa till att öka kunskapen om beslut kring att använda bättre tekniker – vad sådana beslut är baserade på och hur sådana beslut kan stödjas. Fokuset i avhandlingen är framförallt på ett specifikt fall – företags, kommuner och regioners beslut att använda biogas i Sverige. Avhandlingen innehåller sex vetenskapliga artiklar, som tillsammans hjälper till att svara på tre frågor. Hur skiljer sig biogas från andra potentiella alternativ? Varför är beslutsfattare intresserade av att använda biogas, och vad gör dem tveksamma? Hur kan beslutsstöd användas för att hjälpa beslutsfattarna att hantera komplexa delar i beslut kopplade till biogas?Resultaten visar att biogas har miljö- och samhällsfördelar i jämförelse till flera andra förnybara alternativ, men att biogas kan vara dyrare. Hur bra teknik det finns och hur väl den fungerar beror lite på användningsområde – biogas har använts för bussar ganska länge vilket gör att tekniken är mer välutvecklad där, medan det är ganska nytt att använda biogas i tunga lastbilar som ska köra långa sträckor. Beslutsfattare uppfattar att biogas är ett bra miljöalternativ, och att det är en bättre långsiktig lösning än flera andra förnybara bränslen eftersom investeringar görs i biogas och eftersom de som beslutar om regler och stöd för förnybara bränslen verkar positiva till biogas. Kommuner och regioner tenderar att titta mer på fler positiva saker kring biogas, till exempel att man kan producera energi från lokala råvaror och att biogasproduktionen kan hjälpa till med att återanvända näringsämnen. Företag å andra sidan tenderar att fokusera mer på att biogas kan användas som en miljöåtgärd som kan förbättra bilden av företaget hos allmänheten. Beslutsfattare kan dock tveka kring att använda biogas på grund av ekonomiska anledningar, eller att lagarna och stöden för biogas inte är optimala, eller då tekniken inte är tillräckligt välutvecklad för det företaget vill använda biogas till. Det finns även beslutsfattare som inte har så mycket kunskap om biogas, vilket gör att de är mer osäkra kring att använda det. Beslutsstöd kan hjälpa beslutsfattare på olika sätt, med olika verktyg som passar för olika situationer och olika svårigheter. Multikriterieanalys kan användas för att hjälpa beslutsfattare att fokusera på flera olika typer av påverkan samtidigt och göra beslutsprocessen enkel att förstå så att beslutsfattarna kan besluta vilka typer av påverkan som ska prioriteras. Sociotekniska scenarier kan å andra sidan hjälpa beslutsfattare att förstå hur de ska lyckas med att genomföra de förändringar som de vill införa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2021. p. 69
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 2169
National Category
Bioenergy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-179009 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-179009 (DOI)9789179290221 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-10-01, Online through Zoom (contact sofia.dahlgren@liu.se) and ACAS, A Building, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Funding agencies: Biogas Research Center, Vinnova, European Regional Development Fund

Available from: 2021-09-08 Created: 2021-09-06 Last updated: 2021-09-10Bibliographically approved

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Dahlgren, SofiaKanda, WisdomAnderberg, Stefan

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