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Crop Biotech Update

Approach for Assessing Climate Change Mitigation and Fossil Fuel Replacement by Biofuel Technologies

November 18, 2011

Scientists from Vienna University of Technology (Austria) report the application of a "techno-economic" approach for assessing the costs of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation and fossil fuel replacement of existing and future bioenergy technologies for heat, electricity and transport-fuel production in Austria. Using data specific to Austria, they applied "sensitivity analysis and projections up to 2030 to illustrate the effect of dynamic parameters on specific abatement costs.

The methodology essentially consisted of the following steps: (1) definition of "default reference systems" for each cluster of bioenergy technologies (which include small scale heating systems, large process heat plants, combined heat/power plants (CHP), liquid/gaseous biofuels), (2) compilation of a default set of technology data, representative fuel prices, and other data, (3) calculation of GHG mitigation costs of bioenergy technologies as incremental generation costs per unit decrease in GHG emissions. The comparative cost results indicated that heat generation and combined heat/power (CHP) generation (assuming favorable conditions) are "the most cost-efficient options for reducing GHG emissions and fossil fuel dependence in Austria". The higher quantities of abatement per unit biomass are said to be the core advantage of CHP. The full paper is published in the journal, Applied Energy (URL above).