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Decentralised bioenergy systems: A review of opportunities and threats

Mangoyana, Robert B., Smith, Timothy F.
Energy policy 2011 v.39 no.3 pp. 1286-1295
bioenergy, case studies, climate change, employment, feedstocks, marketing, models, ownership, production technology, risk
Decentralised bioenergy systems are receiving increasing attention due to the potential ability to support local development, create local employment, and contribute to climate change mitigation. These issues, along with other bioenergy sustainability issues, are reviewed through eighteen international case studies with the objective of identifying opportunities and threats to decentralised bioenergy systems. The case studies were selected based on feedstock type, bioenergy type, production capacity, synergistic alliances, ownership structure and physical locations. This variation was used to provide a basis for evaluating opportunities and threats from different contexts. Commercial viability remains the primary concern for the sustainability of decentralised bioenergy systems. There are, however, opportunities for compounding benefits through integrating small scale decentralised bioenergy systems with other production systems. Integrated production, including closed loop models, allow waste materials from one process to be used as inputs in other production processes, and thereby increasing economic, social and environmental outcomes. Synergistic opportunities along the bioenergy production chain, which include feedstock production, bioenergy marketing and distribution could also be exploited by communities and other investors to minimise decentralised production risk.