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Biogas in Swedish transport – a policy-driven systemic transition
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Energy Processes.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4321-6894
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis analyzes the conditions for biogas in the Swedish transport sector. Biogas can contribute to the achievement of Sweden’s ambitious targets of decreased emissions of greenhouse gases and an increased share of renewables in the transport sector, a sector that encompasses the major challenges in the phase-out of fossil fuels.

Biogas development has stagnated during recent years and there are several factors that have contributed to this. The use of biogas in transport has developed in niches strongly affected by policy instruments and in this thesis, the progress is understood as a policy-driven systemic transition. Biogas has (started to) become established at the regime level and has begun to replace fossil fuels. The major obstacles for continued biogas development are found to be the stagnated vehicle gas demand, the low predictability of Swedish policy instruments, and electric car development. Moreover, the current prolonged period of low oil prices has also contributed to a lack of top-down pressure.

A large share of the cheap and easily accessible feedstock for conventional biogas production is already utilized and an increased use of vehicle gas could enable a commercial introduction of forest-derived methane. However, the technologies to produce forest-derived methane are still not commercial, although there are industrial actors with technological know-how.

Future biogas development depends on how the policy framework develops. Policy makers should consider the dynamics of biogas as a young sociotechnical system where different system fronts develop at a varying pace. Currently the demand side is lagging behind. However, it is necessary to maintain predictable policy support throughout the entire biogas value chain, since the system fronts that lag can vary over time. The low predictability of Swedish policy instruments indicates that policy makers should exercise care in their design to create a more robust policy framework moving forward.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. , 90 p.
Series
TRITA-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2017:27
Keyword [en]
Transport biofuels, Biogas, Forest-derived methane, Policy, Actors, Multilevel perspective, Barriers and incentives, Biogas production potential
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Research subject
Chemical Engineering; Industrial Engineering and Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206578ISBN: 978-91-7729-389-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-206578DiVA: diva2:1093408
Public defence
2017-06-09, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20170508

Available from: 2017-05-08 Created: 2017-05-05 Last updated: 2017-05-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Swedish resource potential from residues and energy crops to enhance biogas generation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swedish resource potential from residues and energy crops to enhance biogas generation
2013 (English)In: Renewable & sustainable energy reviews, ISSN 1364-0321, E-ISSN 1879-0690, Vol. 21, 298-314 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper verifies the plausibility of existing assessments of the biogas potential in Sweden and whether a target of 1.1 TWh of biogas for transport, as per defined by Swedish authorities, can be met within the next ten years. We estimate that the Swedish resource potential for biogas generation from residues and energy crops amounts to 8.86 TWh in the midterm, equivalent to around 9% of the current domestic transport energy consumption. A large share of this potential remains unrealized and there is uncertainty regarding the existing resource potential, especially concerning energy crops. Nevertheless, the remaining biogas potential can make an important contribution to meet targets of an increased share of renewables in transport.  The study concludes that not only it is possible to meet the increased demand expected for gas in transport until 2020 but the existing potential could justify more ambitious goals than presently set by Swedish authorities.

Keyword
Biogas resource potential, Swedish vehicle gas, renewable energy
National Category
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-78238 (URN)10.1016/j.rser.2012.12.024 (DOI)000317537100025 ()2-s2.0-84873296829 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Note

QC 20120328

Available from: 2012-02-08 Created: 2012-02-08 Last updated: 2017-05-05Bibliographically approved
2. Biogas potential for sustainable transport: A Swedish regional case
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biogas potential for sustainable transport: A Swedish regional case
2015 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 108, no part A, 1105-1114 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study, practical biogas potential has been estimated in order to clarify the role of biogas in policy targets for renewable transport fuels in Sweden. The estimate of the Stockholm County biogas potential is based on a survey directed at key persons at sewage water treatment facilities, as well as official statistics, environmental reports and other sources. The results reveal that the practical biogas potential can meet the vehicle gas demand in Stockholm County by 2020, but that it may cover only 50 % of the demand by 2030. The practical potential is estimated to be 604 GWh by 2020 and 689 GWh by 2030. Fossil gas, biogas from neighboring regions, and/or methane from woody biomass would thus be needed to meet the demand by 2030. The survey shows that digestion capacity exists at sewage water treatment facilities and that the availability of resources for biogas generation is low. Public participation is needed to improve food waste segregation and increase resource availability. Food waste can be co-digested with sewage sludge at sewage water treatment facilities. These results can guide the design of renewable transport fuel policies and one conclusion is that policy support should be directed at the supply rather than at the demand side.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
Keyword
Biogas potential, waste and residues resources, vehicle gas, sustainable transport, policy support
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-170882 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.07.036 (DOI)000367762500101 ()2-s2.0-84955398974 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20160222

Available from: 2015-07-09 Created: 2015-07-09 Last updated: 2017-05-05Bibliographically approved
3. Is natural gas a backup fuel against shortages of biogas or a threat to the Swedish vision of pursuing a vehicle fleet independent of fossil fuels?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Is natural gas a backup fuel against shortages of biogas or a threat to the Swedish vision of pursuing a vehicle fleet independent of fossil fuels?
Show others...
2015 (English)In: Renewable energy, ISSN 0960-1481, E-ISSN 1879-0682, Vol. 83, 1187-1199 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objective of this study is to verify whether natural gas is only a backup fuel against shortages of upgraded biogas or a threat to the Swedish vision of pursuing a vehicle fleet independent of fossil fuels. The paper uses Stockholm County as a case study to guide our analysis. The region not only concentrates the largest number of inhabitants in Sweden but also holds alone around 35% of the Swedish fleet of passenger cars using gas as fuel. The region's potential vehicle gas demands are 460 GWh by 2020 and 1202 GWh by 2030. The methodological approach relies on Network Theory to guide the numerical analysis of the vehicle gas supply chain in the region. Our results show that natural gas will keep on being an important resource and playing a vital role within the local vehicle gas supply chain but no longer as a backup fuel against upgraded biogas shortages. In fact, natural gas has become a price regulator responsible for vehicle gas attractiveness, especially for passenger cars in the region. As a result, phasing out natural gas could hamper future developments of biogas supply chain in the country, hindering the achievement of a green fleet.

Keyword
Upgraded biogas; Vehicle gas supply chain; Transport sector; Bioenergy systems; Stockholm County
National Category
Bioenergy
Research subject
Energy Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-170854 (URN)10.1016/j.renene.2015.06.006 (DOI)000358455100115 ()2-s2.0-84931274937 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20150803

Available from: 2015-07-08 Created: 2015-07-08 Last updated: 2017-05-05Bibliographically approved
4. Stimulating biogas in the transport sector - an actor and policy analysis with supply side focus.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stimulating biogas in the transport sector - an actor and policy analysis with supply side focus.
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206512 (URN)
Note

QC 20170508

Available from: 2017-05-04 Created: 2017-05-04 Last updated: 2017-05-08Bibliographically approved
5. Biogas in the transport sector - a regional actor and policy analysis focusing on the demand side
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biogas in the transport sector - a regional actor and policy analysis focusing on the demand side
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Chemical Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206513 (URN)
Note

QC 20170508

Available from: 2017-05-04 Created: 2017-05-04 Last updated: 2017-05-08Bibliographically approved
6. Forest-derived methane in the Swedish transport sector: A closing window?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Forest-derived methane in the Swedish transport sector: A closing window?
2017 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, E-ISSN 1873-6777, Vol. 105, 440-450 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Forest-derived methane could complement biogas from anaerobic digestion as a transport fuel. The conditions for a systemic transition have been analyzed in this article. The analysis contains three blocks: the vehicle gas development, the policy framework, and commercial projects to produce methane from forest biomass. The results reveal that several conditions for a systemic transition are in place. There is established infrastructure for feedstock supply and biofuels distribution. Infrastructure development is an important albeit not determining factor. Private and public actors have advanced plans for commercial scale plants, technological know-how, and experience from a demonstration plant. However, a major barrier for a systemic transition is the low predictability of Swedish policy instruments. The Swedish government is not free to design policy instruments but must consider compatibility with the EU framework and has changed the energy tax on biofuels several times to avoid overcompensation according to the EU regulation. This has contributed to the low predictability. The interviewees have suggested several concrete policy instruments. However, they have also emphasized that the exact design of the policy instruments is less important than the predictability of the support. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keyword
Policy instruments, systemic transition, transport fuels, methane, forest biomass
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-203949 (URN)10.1016/j.enpol.2017.03.003 (DOI)000400532900042 ()2-s2.0-85015077342 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels (f3)
Note

QC 20170410

Available from: 2017-03-20 Created: 2017-03-20 Last updated: 2017-06-13Bibliographically approved

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