Geospatial supply-demand modeling of biomass residues for co-firing in European coal power plants
Journal article, 2018
Biomass co‐firing with coal is a near‐term option to displace fossil fuels and can facilitate development of biomass conversion and the build‐out of biomass supply infrastructure. A GIS‐based modeling framework (EU‐28, Norway, and Switzerland) is used to quantify and localize biomass demand for co‐firing in coal power plants and agricultural and forest residue supply potentials; supply and demand are then matched based on minimizing the total biomass transport costs (field‐to‐gate). Key datasets (e.g., land cover, land use, wood production) are available at 1,000 m or higher resolution, while some data (e.g., simulated yields) and assumptions (e.g., crop harvest index) have lower resolution and were re‐sampled to allow modeling at 1,000 m resolution.
Biomass demand for co‐firing is estimated at 184 PJ in 2020, corresponding to an emissions reduction of 18 Mt CO2. In all countries except Italy and Spain, the sum of the forest and agricultural residues available at less than 300 km from a co‐firing plant exceeds the assessed biomass demand. The total cost of transporting residues to these plants is reduced if agricultural residues can be used, since transport distances are shorter. The total volume of forest residues less than 300 km from a co‐firing plant corresponds to about half of the assessed biomass demand. Almost 70% of the total biomass demand for co‐firing is found in Germany and Poland. The volumes of domestic forest residues in Germany (Poland) available within the cost range 2‐5 (1.5‐3.5) €/GJ biomass correspond to about 30% (70%) of the biomass demand. The volumes of domestic forest and agricultural residues in Germany (Poland) within the cost range 2‐4 (below 2) €/GJ biomass exceed the biomass demand for co‐firing. Half of the biomass demand is located within 50 km from ports, indicating that long‐distance biomass transport by sea is in many instances an option.