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Land use changes, greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel substitution of biofuels compared to bioelectricity production for electric cars in Austria

Schmidt, Johannes, Gass, Viktoria, Schmid, Erwin
Biomass and bioenergy 2011 v.35 no.9 pp. 4060-4074
European Union, alternative fuels, biofuels, biomass, crop production, energy, energy crops, ethanol, feedstocks, forests, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, heat production, land transportation, land use change, simulation models, uncertainty, wood, Austria
Bioenergy is one way of achieving the indicative target of 10% renewable energy in the transportation sector outlined in the EU Directive 2009/28/EC. This article assesses the consequences of increasing the use of bioenergy for road transportation on land use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and fossil fuel substitution. Different technologies, including first and second generation fuels and electric cars fuelled by bioelectricity are assessed in relation to existing bioenergy uses for heat and power production. The article applies a spatially explicit energy system model that is coupled with a land use optimization model to allow assessing impacts of increased biomass utilization for energy production on land use in agriculture and forest wood harvests. Uncertainty is explicitly assessed with Monte-Carlo simulations of model parameters. Results indicate that electric mobility could save GHG emissions without causing a significant increase in domestic land use for energy crop production. Costs of electric cars are still prohibitive. Second generation biofuels are more effective in producing fuels than first generation ethanol. However, competition with power and heat production from ligno-cellulosic feedstock causes an increase in GHG emissions when introducing second generation fuels in comparison to a baseline scenario.