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Fields of Dreams: Scenarios to Produce Selected Biomass and Renewable Jet Fuels that Fulfill European Union Sustainability Criteria
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Aviation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have risen faster than any other transport sector to double between 1990 and 2005. Such emissions from aviation could increase another 700 percent globally, and at least 150 percent in the European Union (EU), by 2050 due to continuously increasing consumer demand. To reverse the trend of rising emissions writ large, the EU has set 2030 climate goals of reducing its GHG emissions by 40 percent (relative to 2005) and having 32 percent of gross final energy consumption from renewables. The EU’s recast Renewable Energy Directive (RED-II) calls for 14 percent of transport energy from renewables, gives multipliers to advanced biofuels, and restricts biomass that is from ecologically valuable lands or that causes land use change. Energy security and energy independence are also long-term EU goals. Many of these goals and targets have also been adopted by the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). Despite these efforts, options are limited to reduce aviation emissions compared to other transport sectors, leaving aviation biofuels, also known as renewable jet fuels (RJFs), as currently the only commercialized option. Against this backdrop, in this thesis scenario analyses were conducted to produce biomass from EU+EFTA lands, project RJF yields from this biomass, and estimate emissions savings of these RJFs compared to petroleum jet fuel. Particular effort was devoted to identifying biomass, biofuels, and EU+EFTA lands that comply with RED-II criteria. The two RJF pathways selected were hydroprocessed esters and fatty acid (HEFA) conversion of Camelina sativa vegetable oil and Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis of forestry residue lignocellulosic biomass.

Over 117 million hectares in the EU+EFTA was identified as available for Camelina sativa cultivation, which could yield over 64 Mt of RJF each year, or 113 percent of the total jet fuel consumed in the EU+EFTA in 2017. Conversely, if 50 percent of the forestry residues generated as by-products from EU+EFTA roundwood harvesting operations in 2017 were extracted from harvest sites, 40 Mt of forestry residues would be available as biomass, which would yield almost 7.6 Mt of RJF annually (13% of 2017 jet fuel consumption). If all 144 million hectares of EU+EFTA forest lands deemed available for wood supply were logged, 1,772 Mt of forestry residues would be produced in total (at 50 percent extraction), which could result in almost 337 Mt of RJF, or 590% of the jet fuel consumed in the region in 2017. Hence, RJF can be feasibly produced from biomass from EU+EFTA lands, in amounts that meet or exceed the annual jet fuel consumption of the EU+EFTA, and in ways that meet or exceed RED-II sustainability criteria. However, the proportion of these RJF yields to total annual EU+EFTA jet fuel consumption will decrease over time as the number of flights and their resulting emissions increase. The two RJFs also emit 67 percent and 91 percent fewer GHG emissions, respectively, than petroleum-based jet fuel, showing them to be important tools for the EU to meet its 2030 renewables and emissions reductions targets. Producing the biomass feedstocks and RJFs in these quantities will require the EU to make serious decisions on land use trade-offs, such as whether livestock production is more important than biofuel production.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 38
Series
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 2019/12
Keywords [en]
aviation biofuel, Camelina sativa, forestry residues, land use change, Renewable Energy Directive, sustainable development
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-385902OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-385902DiVA, id: diva2:1326300
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
Presentation
2019-05-22, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 15:45 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-18 Created: 2019-06-18 Last updated: 2019-11-05Bibliographically approved

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