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Decision-making and decision support connected to biogas use in Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5643-7680
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: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-179009DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-179009ISBN: 9789179290221 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-179009DiVA, id: diva2:1591328
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
List of papers
1. Biogas-based fuels as renewable energy in the transport sector: an overview of the potential of using CBG, LBG and other vehicle fuels produced from biogas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biogas-based fuels as renewable energy in the transport sector: an overview of the potential of using CBG, LBG and other vehicle fuels produced from biogas
2022 (English)In: Biofuels, ISSN 1759-7269, E-ISSN 1759-7277, Vol. 13, no 5, p. 587-599Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The energy supply in the world needs to change from fossil fuels to renewable alternatives. Biogas is such a renewable alternative, and there is potential to increase the biogas production in the world. In recent decades, many countries have increasingly been upgrading biogas to vehicle fuel. In the last few years, the interest has also increased in liquefying biogas for heavier transports. Biogas can also be a raw material for other fuels by gasifying the biogas, for example Fischer-Tropsch fuels, methanol, dimethyl ether and hydrogen. This study provides an overview of vehicle fuels that can be produced from biogas, their technological maturity and their respective potentials as substitutes for fossil fuels in the transport system. A common factor for all of them is that they are most often produced from fossil fuels. Compressed and liquefied methane are the only fuels being commercially produced using biogas. The other fuels all have strengths that both compressed and liquefied methane lack, for example the possibility of emission-free fuel cell vehicles. However, they are all less mature technologies than compressed and liquefied methane. The greatest short-term potential is thus for expanded use of biogas as compressed and liquefied biomethane.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022
Keywords
Biogas; transport; biogas-based fuels; compressed biomethane; liquefied biomethane
National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-171055 (URN)10.1080/17597269.2020.1821571 (DOI)000574388000001 ()
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Energy AgencySwedish Energy Agency; Linkoping University; SLU

Available from: 2020-11-01 Created: 2020-11-01 Last updated: 2022-10-06
2. 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
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
Keywords
Renewable energy, diffusion, biogas, Sweden
National Category
Bioenergy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162032 (URN)10.1080/17597269.2019.1657661 (DOI)000492055300001 ()
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
3. Sustainability Assessment of Public Transport, Part I-A Multi-Criteria Assessment Method to Compare Different Bus Technologies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability Assessment of Public Transport, Part I-A Multi-Criteria Assessment Method to Compare Different Bus Technologies
2021 (English)In: Sustainability, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 13, no 2, article id 825Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article departs from the perspective of Swedish regional transport authorities and focuses on the public procurement of bus transports. Many of these public organizations on the county level have the ambition to contribute to a transition involving the continued marginalization of fossil fuels and improved sustainability performance. However, there are several renewable bus technologies to choose between and it can be difficult to know what alternative (or combination) is preferable. Prior research and the authors experiences indicate a need for improved knowledge and supportive methods on how sustainability assessments can support public procurement processes. The purpose of this article is to develop a multi-criteria assessment (MCA) method to support assessments of public bus technologies sustainability. The method, which was established in an iterative and participatory process, consists of four key areas and 12 indicators. The article introduces the problem context and reviews selected prior research of relevance dealing with green or sustainable public procurement and sustainability assessments. Further on, the process and MCA method are presented and discussed based on advice for effective and efficient sustainability assessments. In the companion article (Part II), the MCA method is applied to assess several bus technologies involving biodiesel, biomethane, diesel, electricity, ethanol and natural gas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2021
Keywords
bus technologies; multi-criteria assessment; MCA; MCDA; public transport; sustainability assessment; sustainable or green public procurement
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-173415 (URN)10.3390/su13020825 (DOI)000611770700001 ()
Note

Funding Agencies|Energy Agency of Sweden; Linkoping University; Swedish University of Agriculture

Available from: 2021-02-20 Created: 2021-02-20 Last updated: 2022-02-10
4. Sustainability Assessment of Public Transport, Part II - Applying a Multi-Criteria Assessment Method to Compare Different Bus Technologies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability Assessment of Public Transport, Part II - Applying a Multi-Criteria Assessment Method to Compare Different Bus Technologies
2021 (English)In: Sustainability, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 13, no 3, article id 1273Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many Swedish regional transport authorities want bus fleets driven on renewable fuels. However, it may be difficult to know what technology, or combination of technologies, to choose. There is a need for improved knowledge and supportive methods for sustainability assessments that can support public procurement processes. In the companion article (Part I), a multi-criteria assessment (MCA) method for assessments of public bus technologies sustainability was established, consisting of four key areas and 12 indicators. In this article, the purpose is to apply the method established in part I on different bus technologies by looking at a general Swedish case and assessing buses driven on diesel, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), ethanol, natural gas, biomethane and electricity. Each technology is assessed on a scale from Very Poor to Very Good according to the indicators: technical maturity, daily operational availability, total cost of ownership, need for investments in infrastructure, cost stability, non-renewable primary energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission savings, air pollution, noise, local/regional impact on land and aquatic environments, energy security and sociotechnical systems services. The results show the strengths and weaknesses of each technology, which are later discussed. We also critically reflect upon the usefulness and accuracy of the MCA method.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2021
Keywords
bus technologies; multi-criteria assessment; MCA; MCDA; public transport; sustainability assessment; sustainable or green public procurement
National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-174135 (URN)10.3390/su13031273 (DOI)000615680300001 ()
Note

Funding Agencies|Energy Agency of Sweden; Swedish University of Agriculture; Linkoping University

Available from: 2021-03-15 Created: 2021-03-15 Last updated: 2022-02-10
5. Socio-technical scenarios and local practice: Assessing the future use of fossil-free alternatives in a regional energy and transport system
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Socio-technical scenarios and local practice: Assessing the future use of fossil-free alternatives in a regional energy and transport system
2020 (English)In: Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ISSN 2590-1982, Vol. 5Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents results from a project involving local practitioners in the construction of scenarios for a regional energy and transport system. The purpose is to demonstrate how sustainability transitions research can interact with local practice by means of socio-technical scenarios. Combining quantitative data with qualitative storylines, the article presents four scenarios, which describe different ways of using biogas, biodiesel and electricity in four different applications: city buses, inter-city buses, heavy-duty trucks and industrial processes. The article compares the four scenarios in terms of realization possibilities, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction. Focusing on nearterm realization on a commercial basis, the research findings suggest that collaborative scenario construction can be a useful strategy to manage conflicting agendas and engage key stakeholders in dialogues on transition pathways. The article concludes by presenting policy lessons for practice-oriented transition management. The lessons point to the importance of flexibility in system delineations, the critical timing of near-term scenarios, and the use of scenarios to outline local practitioners' agency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020
Keywords
Socio-technical scenario Redeployment Biofuels Electric bus Transition management Arena
National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-165756 (URN)10.1016/j.trip.2020.100128 (DOI)001093219100001 ()2-s2.0-85084598893 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Vinnova, 2015-03536Swedish Energy Agency, 2018-010740
Available from: 2020-05-19 Created: 2020-05-19 Last updated: 2024-06-12Bibliographically approved

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