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The role of biogas in a more sustainable energy system in Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
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 [en]
Biogas, CBG, LBG, Energy users, Sustainable transitions, Sustainability assessments
National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162033DOI: 10.3384/lic.diva-162033ISBN: 9789179299460 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-162033DiVA, id: diva2:1370877
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
List of papers
1. Drivers for and barriers to biogas use in manufacturing, road transport and shipping: a demand-side perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Drivers for and barriers to biogas use in manufacturing, road transport and shipping: a demand-side perspective
2019 (English)In: Biofuels, ISSN 1759-7269, E-ISSN 1759-7277, p. 1-12Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
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, 2019
Keywords
Renewable energy, diffusion, biogas, Sweden
National Category
Bioenergy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162032 (URN)10.1080/17597269.2019.1657661 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-11-18 Created: 2019-11-18 Last updated: 2019-11-18

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