Cost-effective biogas utilisation – A modelling assessment of gas infrastructural options in a regional energy system
Journal article, 2012
The current utilisation of biogas from anaerobic digestion is low compared to the technical potential. This study investigates requirements for policy support to overcome techno-economic barriers of biogas utilisation and effects of different biogas distribution strategies. Two potential sectors for biogas use are covered: the transport sector and the district heating sector. A quantitative, optimising, energy system modelling approach is applied and the region of Västra Götaland, Sweden, is studied. The model has a high geographical resolution and locations of both biogas feedstock and potential markets are taken into account. The results show that a small part of the technical biogas potential can be cost-effectively utilised without biogas subsidies or larger infrastructural investments. Comparably low subsidies give significant increases in cost-effective biogas utilisation levels, but utilisation close to the full technical potential is linked to high subsidies. From a techno-economic perspective, biogas is best used as vehicle gas. Since local vehicle gas markets are limited, enhanced biogas distribution conditions not only imply larger total cost-effective biogas utilisation, but also a larger share of biogas as vehicle gas. Compared to distribution strategies based on truck transports and regional biogas grids, an expanded natural gas grid presents possibilities but also risks.