Biomass for heat or as transportation fuel? - a comparison between two model based studies
Journal article, 2007

In two different energy economy models of the global energy system, the cost-effective use of biomass under a stringent carbon constraint has been analyzed. Gielen et al. conclude that it is cost-effective to use biofuels for transportation, whereas Azar et al. find that it is more cost-effective to use most of the biomass to generate heat and process heat, despite the fact that assumptions about the cost of biofuels production is similar in the models. In this study, we compare the two models with the purpose of finding an explanation for these different results. It was found that both models suggest that biomass is most cost-effectively used for heat production for low carbon taxes (below 50–100 USD/tC, depending on the year in question). But for higher carbon taxes, the cost-effective choice reverses in the BEAP model, but not in the GET model. The reason for this is that GET includes hydrogen from carbon-free energy sources as a technology option, whereas that option is not allowed in the BEAP model. In all other sectors, both models include carbon-free options above biomass. Thus, with higher carbon taxes, biomass will eventually become the cost-effective choice in the transportation sector in BEAP, regardless of its technology cost parameters.

Carbon tax


Energy scenarios

Energy system model

Liquid biofuels

Carbon dioxide emissions

Alternative transportation fuels



Maria Grahn

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Christian Azar

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Kristian Lindgren

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Göran Berndes

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Dolf Gielen

Biomass & Bioenergy

Vol. 31 747-758

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