AP10 - Overall evaluation of biogas utilisation pathways - accompanying research

Ecological, economical and socio-scientific survey on biogas taken from the gas grid and used as a fuel for mobile and stationary applications

The lead project „Virtual Biogas“ will make the renewable energy source biogas available and certifiable throughout the existing natural gas network. As a result there are numerous applications in the transport sector (biogas fueling stations and vehicles) as well as stationary combustion plants like high efficient and decentralized combined heat and power or direct substitution of fossil gas. On the other hand questions with regard to ecological, agricultural, social as well as micro and macro economic dimensions of this energy system have to be addressed.

One of the midterm goals are cost effective and CO2-neutral gas powered vehicles with a share of 5% of the automotive fuels thus contributing substantially to the European Biofuels-Directive and saving 1 Mio. t/year of CO2-Emissions (more in lead project „Virtual Biogas“).

The mentioned project “Biogas Overall Evaluation” is one of the work packages of the lead project and deals with a „comprehensive ecological and economic survey“ of the renewable energy carrier biogas. The study follows a variety of biogas utilization pathways (see Figure), starting from the production and fermentation of the biomass, biogas cleaning and feeding into the network to the final usage and provision of transport, heating and electric energy services.

Figure: The different utilisation pathways for the energy carrier biogas from the production to the final utilisation

The results of the overall survey will be provided by a consortium of designated partners and will comprise the following parts:

  • Cost and potential analysis of biomass production and fermentation
  • Ecological assessment of biogas utilization pathways (Life Cycle Analysis LCA)
  • Economic analysis and assessment of biogas utilization pathways
  • Social science analysis of framework conditions for implementation
  • Analysis of agricultural and energy policy
  • Energy market perspectives of project results
  • Macro economic analysis: employment, fiscal and foreign trade balance

Results will be consolidated in comprehensive assessment and conclusions for relevant stakeholders will be drawn.

This work package will be conducted from august 2008 until December 2010.

Additionally to the project partners Grazer Energieagentur GmbH and University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences who are also working on the higher-ranking overall project “Virtual Biogas” this work package is conducted in a cooperation with the following institutions:

JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (JR),

Interuniversitäres Forschungszentrum für Technik, Arbeit, Kultur (IFZ)