Bioenergy value chains: Whole systems analysis and optimisation

The full title of this project is - Bioenergy value chains: Whole systems analysis and optimisation. Most energy system studies of the UK indicate a strong role for bioenergy in the coming decades, especially if the UK is to meet its climate change mitigation ambitions. However, there is a need to understand how bioenergy systems can be implemented without negative sustainability-related impacts. There is therefore a need for multi-scale systems analyses to support the understanding of these inter-related issues and to support decision-making around land use, interactions with food production and acceleration of bioenergy technologies, while ensuring that a range of sustainability measures are quantified and that minimum standards can be guaranteed.
This project will build on partners’ bioenergy system models and combine them with other models, including the UK-TIMES model, ecosystem and resource models and international trade models. This toolkit will be used to identify robust and promising options for the UK, including land use, resources and technologies.
The key outcomes will include:

  • Understanding the potential and risks of different biomass technologies, and the interfaces between competing requirements for land use
  • Understanding cost reductions, lifecycle environmental profiles and system implications of bioenergy and biorenewables
  • Identifying and modelling the impact of greater system integration -integrated energy, food, by-product systems, and cascading use of biomass
  • Understanding what it would take to achieve a significant (e.g. 10%) contribution from biomass in the UK - and identify the pre-requisites/critical path for mobilisation (resources, policies, institutions and timescales).
  • Developing scenarios describing what policies, infrastructure, institutions etc. would be needed and where
  • Lifecycle, techno- and socio-economic and environmental/ecosystem, evaluation of the value chains associated with a material level of bioenergy in the UK

Patricia Thornley, Andrew Welfle
1st June 2013 – 31st May 2017
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