The prospects for large-scale import of biomass and biofuels into Sweden - a review of critical issues
Journal article, 2006
Sweden presently imports biofuels to meet part of the domestic demand for bioenergy. This paper evaluates the prospects for large-scale import of biofuels into Sweden. The parameters included are prospective Swedish and global biofuel supply and demand, the cost of long-distance biofuel transport, the capacity of global freight and of Swedish ports to handle increased biofuel flows and environmental aspects. It is found that the Swedish bioenergy potential is large enough to accommodate a substantial increase in the domestic use of both solid and liquid biofuels. However, an extensive import of biofuel feedstock would be needed for a prospective Swedish biofuel industry to be able to export substantial volumes of, for instance, liquid biofuels to Europe. South America and the former USSR are examples of regions where the assessed potential supply of low-cost biomass is higher than the estimated future regional biofuel demand. The costs, including transport, of imported biofuels from these regions are estimated to be equivalent to or lower than current costs of domestic biofuels, but the price is dependent on future competition for biofuels as well as freight and port capacity. A substantial increase in international biofuel trade may influence global bulk freight patterns and lead to increased competition for freight capacity, especially as regards solid biofuels. This might lead to an increase in freight price. Current specialization at Swedish ports may in the short term (perhaps 5-15 years) be an obstacle to a rapid increase in biofuel import. The energy input in long-distance biofuel transport, as well as its environmental impact, is estimated to be low. However, to make large-scale biofuel trade flows acceptable special attention needs to be paid to, among other things, the impact on biodiversity and socioeconomic conditions in the exporting countries. © 2006 International Energy Initiative, Inc.