Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bioenergy and Biofuels


As the world makes moves towards biofuels (= biomass fuels in this context), the source of the biological material is going to become important. The European Commission has published a green paper called "A European Strategy for Secure, Competitive and Sustainable Energy for Europe", which, in the view of the European Renewable Energy Industry is a missed opportunity for showing the way forward in Europe's energy policy and strategy.

  • PRODUCT | Biomass fueled CHP is a proven concept; the 1 - 10 – 20 MW plant sizes for France / Europe are however new concepts and the plan to implementation could face some barriers and uncertainties compared to Scandinavian countries where wood based bioenergy units have a long history.
  • PRICE | The initial CHP investment is higher but ROI over lifetime should support the decision. The acceptance of a higher initial investment price demands strategic decision making and local political wisdom has to be a part of the decision making process.
  • PROMOTION | Biomass fueled CHPs 1 - 10 – 20 MW as valuable community / district level investments are not well known outside the Scandinavian markets. Much more grassroots and selective local promotion is needed to advance the Public-Private-Community-District partnership.
  • PLACE | Location, location, location is everything. A CHP (cogeneration heat and power) should be installed in a location where the Public-Private-Community-District initiative has the logistical, operational and supply chain actors participating. To succeed, a multidisciplinary local action group has to be arranged by someone who wants to lead the operation from start to finish. Such a team was in place when the Autun, France, BioGrate 10 MW project proceeded from idea to completion.
  • POLITICS | The City / Community level decision makers have to be a natural part of the planning process and a project team. A CHP plant want be a strictly Business-to-Business sales and implementation project. A successful project requires long term cooperation of several parties. If the networking infrastructure isn’t in place, there will not be a successful project.
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