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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1792; doi:10.3390/su9101792

Energy System Models as a Means of Visualising Barriers and Drivers of Forest-Based Biofuels: An Interview Study of Developers and Potential Users

1
Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
2
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Eklandagatan 86, SE-412 61 Gothenburg, Sweden
3
Energy Engineering, Division of Energy Science, Luleå University of Technology, SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 3 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Abstract

Forest-derived biofuels have been on the agenda for several decades. Despite extensive research and development efforts, forest biofuel concepts have nevertheless not yet been realized on any significant scale. The discrepancy between the expectations from the research community and the lack of momentum regarding biofuel production raises the question of if and how research results can be used to achieve such goals. Here, we report results from an interview study with the aim of evaluating how energy system models can be used to illustrate barriers and drivers for forest biofuels, with focus on Swedish conditions, using the BeWhere model as case. The study is framed as an example of expertise, and problematizes how energy system models are interpreted among expected users. While the interviews revealed some general scepticism regarding models, and what kinds of questions they can answer, the belief was also expressed that increased complexity might be an advantage in terms of being able to accommodate more barriers against forest biofuels. The study illustrates the complexity of this policy area, where an energy system model can answer some, but never all, ‘what if…?’ questions. The results reveal a need for reformation in energy system modelling in order to more explicitly make society the subject of the work, and also illustrate that the belief in expertise as a tool for consensus-building in decision-making should be questioned. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy systems analysis; energy system models; biofuels; interviews; barriers and drivers; expertise energy systems analysis; energy system models; biofuels; interviews; barriers and drivers; expertise
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fallde, M.; Torén, J.; Wetterlund, E. Energy System Models as a Means of Visualising Barriers and Drivers of Forest-Based Biofuels: An Interview Study of Developers and Potential Users. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1792.

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