Biomass Energy for Transport and Electricity: Large scale utilization under low CO2 concentration scenarios

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This paper examines the potential role of large scale, dedicated commercial biomass energy systems under global climate policies designed to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at 400ppm and 450ppm. We use an integrated assessment model of energy and agriculture systems to show that, given a climate policy in which terrestrial carbon is appropriately valued equally with carbon emitted from the energy system, biomass energy has the potential to be a major component of achieving these low concentration targets. The costs of processing and transporting biomass energy at much larger scales than current experience are also incorporated into the modeling. From ... continued below

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Luckow, Patrick; Wise, Marshall A.; Dooley, James J. & Kim, Son H. January 25, 2010.

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This paper examines the potential role of large scale, dedicated commercial biomass energy systems under global climate policies designed to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at 400ppm and 450ppm. We use an integrated assessment model of energy and agriculture systems to show that, given a climate policy in which terrestrial carbon is appropriately valued equally with carbon emitted from the energy system, biomass energy has the potential to be a major component of achieving these low concentration targets. The costs of processing and transporting biomass energy at much larger scales than current experience are also incorporated into the modeling. From the scenario results, 120-160 EJ/year of biomass energy is produced by midcentury and 200-250 EJ/year by the end of this century. In the first half of the century, much of this biomass is from agricultural and forest residues, but after 2050 dedicated cellulosic biomass crops become the dominant source. A key finding of this paper is the role that carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technologies coupled with commercial biomass energy can play in meeting stringent emissions targets. Despite the higher technology costs of CCS, the resulting negative emissions used in combination with biomass are a very important tool in controlling the cost of meeting a target, offsetting the venting of CO2 from sectors of the energy system that may be more expensive to mitigate, such as oil use in transportation. The paper also discusses the role of cellulosic ethanol and Fischer-Tropsch biomass derived transportation fuels and shows that both technologies are important contributors to liquid fuels production, with unique costs and emissions characteristics. Through application of the GCAM integrated assessment model, it becomes clear that, given CCS availability, bioenergy will be used both in electricity and transportation.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-19124
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/973408 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 973408
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc928838

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • January 25, 2010

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 9:24 p.m.

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Luckow, Patrick; Wise, Marshall A.; Dooley, James J. & Kim, Son H. Biomass Energy for Transport and Electricity: Large scale utilization under low CO2 concentration scenarios, report, January 25, 2010; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc928838/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.