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Transport & Environment

Renewable Fuels for Cross Border Transportation

A study undertaken by the Institute of Transport Research of the German Aerospace Centre DLR (Berlin), the Institute for Energy and Environment GmbH (Leipzig), and the Institute for Road and Transportation Science, Department of Transportation Planning and Traffic Engineering, University of Stuttgart.

This study aimed at the potential of producing renewable fuels in the EU, and of the implications of doing so in terms of costs, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and any other environmental impacts. The study started out with a wide survey of the primary sources of renewable energy, of energy transformation technologies, fuel distribution and the final energy conversion technologies in the vehicles. Based on this initial survey and a more detailed analysis, a limited number of scenarios were worked out. This included the elaboration of key elements of the corresponding implementation strategies.

Vehicles from all transport modes were considered in principle as potential users of renewable fuels, including cars, trucks, railway locomotives, ships, and aircraft.

The study was undertaken during 2002 and finalised in February 2003. A stakeholder meeting was held on 22 November 2002.

The following table summarises the results of the basic survey of renewable energy sources, covering primary energy provision and transformation into fuel:

Note: Figures in this table are based on different sources as registered in the module sheets of the annexes. Therefore the table intends to show differences and orders of magnitude in principle and is not suitable for detailed comparisons of selected single data.

Technical potentials are calculated by assuming that 10 % of the arable land is available; residues and renewable electricity generation is recorded without any subtraction for competing utilisations.
 

primary energy (class 1 module)

module id

class 1

transformation (class 2 module)

module id

class 2

CO2-emissions class 1+2, (i.e. final use is excluded)

total output costs for fuel production

technical fuel potential for   EU 15

technical fuel potential for   EU 30

Biodiesel

Rape cultivation (rape seed)

C1-P1

Vegetable oil from rape seed

C2-O1

20 kg/GJ

15 €/GJ

260 PJ/a

520 PJ/a

 

 

Rape seed oil methyl ester (RME) from rape seed oil

C2-S1

24 kg/GJ

20 €/GJ

250 PJ/a

510 PJ/a

Ethanol

Sugar beet cultivation

C1-P5

Ethanol from sugar beet

C2-F1

24 kg/GJ

35 €/GJ

1000 PJ/a

1880 PJ/a

Maize cultivation

C1-P11

Ethanol from maize (starch to sugar, fermentation)

C2-F2

65 kg/GJ

38 €/GJ

380 PJ/a

740 PJ/a

Cereals’ cultivation (grains, e. g. winter wheat)

C1-P6

Ethanol from cereals' cultivation

C2-F3

60 kg/GJ

41 €/GJ

330 PJ/a

590 PJ/a

Triticale cultivation

C1-P7

Ethanol from triticale cultivation

C2-F3

59 kg/GJ

39 €/GJ

320 PJ/a

570 PJ/a

Potato cultivation

C1-P12

Ethanol from potatoes

C2-F4

69 kg/GJ

37 €/GJ

680 PJ/a

1220 PJ/a

Methanol

Fast growing trees (short rotation plantations)

C1-P9

Methanol from fast growing trees

C2-T1

43 kg/GJ

23 €/GJ

330 PJ/a

640 PJ/a

Miscanthus cultivation (perennial grass)

C1-P10

Methanol from miscanthus cultivation

C2-T1

77 kg/GJ

32 €/GJ

410 PJ/a

820 PJ/a

Logging residues

C1-R2

Methanol from woody biomass

C2-T1

37 kg/GJ

26 €/GJ

210 PJ/a

310 PJ/a

Collection of wood residues from trade and industry

C1-R8

Methanol from wood (thermochem. conv.)

C2-T1

37 kg/GJ

19 €/GJ

650 PJ/a

960 PJ/a

Synthetic fuel

Fast growing trees (short rotation plantations)

C1-P9

Synfuel from fast growing trees

C2-T3

42 kg/GJ

29 €/GJ

200 PJ/a

380 PJ/a

Miscanthus cultivation (perennial grass)

C1-P10

Synfuel from miscanthus

C2-T3

105 kg/GJ

45 €/GJ

240 PJ/a

490 PJ/a

Logging residues

C1-R2

Synfuel from woody biomass

C2-T3

32 kg/GJ

32 €/GJ

125 PJ/a

180 PJ/a

Collection of wood residues from trade and industry

C1-R8

Synfuel from wood (thermochem. conv.)

C2-T3

32 kg/GJ

20 €/GJ

390 PJ/a

570 PJ/a

Biogas

Collection of animal excrements

C1-R4

Cleaned and upgraded Biogas (excrements)

C2-S3

14,5 kg/GJ

31 €/GJ

360 PJ/a

490 PJ/a

Collection of organic waste from households

C1-R5

Biogas cleaning and upgrading from organic waste

C2-S3

14,8 kg/GJ

32 €/GJ

40 PJ/a

59 PJ/a

Collection of vegetable residues from agriculture

C1-R6

Cleaned and upgraded Biogas (excrements)

C2-S3

14,8 kg/GJ

26 €/GJ

200 PJ/a

320 PJ/a

Collection of organic commercial waste

C1-R7

Cleaned and upgraded Biogas (waste)

C2-S3

14,8 kg/GJ

32 €/GJ

20 PJ/a

35 PJ/a

Electricity Generation

Collection of animal excrements

C1-R4

Combustion of biogas for electricity generation (excrements)

C2-E3

27 kg/GJ

33 €/GJ

150 PJ/a

210 PJ/a

Collection of organic waste from households

C1-R5

Combustion of biogas for electricity generation (waste)

C2-E3

28 kg/GJ

33 €/GJ

17 PJ/a

25 PJ/a

Collection of organic commercial waste

C1-R7

Combustion from commercial waste for electricity generation

C2-E3

28 kg/GJ

33 €/GJ

10 PJ/a

15 PJ/a

Hydrogen by electrolysis

Hydropower

C1-E1

Hydrogen from electrolysis: Hydropower

C2-H1

2,9 kg/GJ

37 €/GJ

1300 PJ/a

2200 PJ/a

Wind power (onshore + EU 12 offshore)

C1-E2

Hydrogen from electrolysis: Windpower

C2-H1

12,9 kg/GJ

34 €/GJ

9000 PJ/a

10100 PJ/a

Solar energy (Photovoltaics)

C1-E3

Hydrogen from electrolysis: Photovoltaics

C2-H1

43 kg/GJ

189 €/GJ

1040 PJ/a

1600 PJ/a

Solar thermal electricity

C1-E4

Hydrogen from electrolysis: Solar thermal

C2-H1

7,0 kg/GJ

89 €/GJ

3600 PJ/a

7200 PJ/a

Nuclear energy

C1-E5

Hydrogen from electrolysis: Nuclear power

C2-H1

0 kg/GJ

19 €/GJ

0 PJ/a

0 PJ/a

Hydrogen by thermochemical conversion

Fast growing trees (short rotation plantations)

C1-P9

Hydrogen from biomass by thermo-chemical conversion

C2-H2

23 kg/GJ

12,5 €/GJ

450 PJ/a

850 PJ/a

Miscanthus cultivation (perennial grass)

C1-P10

Hydrogen from mis-canthus by thermo-chemical conversion

C2-H2

51 kg/GJ

20 €/GJ

540 PJ/a

1100 PJ/a

Logging residues

C1-R2

Hydrogen from firewood collection by thermical conversion

C2-H2

18 kg/GJ

14,2 €/GJ

280 PJ/a

410 PJ/a

Collection of wood residues from trade and industry

C1-R8

Hydrogen from wood residues from trade and industry

C2-H2

18 kg/GJ

8,9 €/GJ

870 PJ/a

1300 PJ/a

Fossil fuel

Mineral oil

C1-F1

Refinery of Crude Oil

C2-R1

11,7 kg/GJ

6 €/GJ
(without taxes)

0 PJ/a
(fossil)

0 PJ/a
(fossil)

Using the criteria of availability, CO2 emissions and costs, the following fuel chains were chosen for in-depth analysis:

  • Ethanol from sugar beet
  • Methanol from wood residue and fast-growing trees
  • Rape methyl esther
  • Synthetic (Fischer-Tropsch) fuel from wood residue and fast-growing trees
  • Hydrogen from forestry residue
  • Hydrogen from electrolysis using renewable electricity

This choice illustrates that renewable transport fuels produced within the EU will realistically be based either on some form of biomass or on renewable electricity that is used for hydrogen production.

The total potential of biomass-based transport fuel produced within the EU is found to be less than the total fuel demand, as seen in the graph:

Technical overall potential of renewable fuels in comparison to projected energy demand for transportation for EU 30 in 2030

Graph  

The greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis are quite different for the different fuel chains. This is mostly because the production of renewable fuels involves some fossil energy use. Diesel fuel is shown as a comparison in the following graph:

Impact on global warming potential (passenger cars)

The acidification caused by some biofuels is bigger than that of fossil fuels because of the fuel processing. The assumed electricity mix plays an important role:

Similarly,the eutrophication caused by some biofuels is bigger than that of fossil fuels, linked to agriculture and forestry practices.

The impact on biodiversity is more difficult to quantify. Based on the area requirements and agricultural practices, the study found the following qualitative result:

Influence on biodiversity of the chains selected for LCA

fuel chain

(for passenger cars)

need of agricultural (forestry) area

intensity of agricultural production

total evaluation: negative influence on biodiversity

RME (base: rape)

high

high

high

ethanol (base: sugar beet)

low

high

medium

methanol (base: poplar wood)

medium

low

low to medium

synfuel (base: wood residues)

no need

no agriculture

no influence

liquid H2 in fuel cells (base: wood residues)

no need

no agriculture

no influence

gaseous H2 in fuel cells (base: electrolysis, renewable power)

no need

no agriculture

no influence

fossil diesel

no need

no agriculture

no influence

For more information, see the final report (below).

Contact: Günter Hörmandinger,
DG Environment,
Unit C.1 (Air, noise and transport).
guenter.hoermandinger@ec.europa.eu

Download:

Final report (pdf~900K)

Annex 1: Module sheets for primary energy sources (pdf~760K)

Annex 2: Module sheets for transformation technologies (pdf~3M)

Annex 3: Module sheets for fuel distribution (pdf~800K)

Annex 4: Module sheets for vehicle technologies (pdf~3M)