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Special Issue "Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries"

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A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Calliope Panoutsou

Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, SW72AZ, London, UK
Interests: energy; biomass; biofuels; energy crops; renewable energy; sustainability; energy policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Resource efficiency is a key element for a future European bioeconomy that will be resilient to climate change, have adequate and sustainable supply of raw materials, and be able to meet the needs of a growing global population within the sustainable limits of the planet’s natural resources.

The bio-based industries (energy and non-energy ones) have much to offer in terms of minimizing / reducing environmental impacts , improving resource efficiency and raw materials utilisation, but the interactions can be rather complex.

If the market for bio-based products is to develop, the establishment of efficient, cost-effective supply chains, providing raw materials of known and consistent quality will be essential.

During the last ten years, both research efforts and policy formation for biomass has seen very active development in the bioenergy and biofuels fields, starting from the basic targets of the RED and paths towards their achievement from the Member States in their National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) and the subsequent reporting periods, and following with several other initiatives for sustainability and market support at Member State level.

However, most policy related mechanisms were prepared without fully recognizing market dynamics including: implications of sustainability criteria on supply and land use; competition with the other biomass using sectors and the appreciation of longer-term resource efficiency and environmental policies.

Furthermore, opportunities of the bioeconomy such as cascading use of biomass, and the linking of the energy, fuel and bio-material markets seems to not have been sufficiently reflected in the national and the broader EU policy making at a coordinated level.

Key issues for the future technological development and policy formation of the biobased sectors include the:

  • efficient resource mobilisation (sustainability criteria; costs, logistics, availability);
  • production of  more and/or different types of biomass e.g. by increasing agricultural productivity, potentially exploiting unutilized land, expanding production of specific biomass crops, and
  • assessment of the resource efficiency element in biomass value chains (with a set of consistent techno-economic, sustainability and policy related indicators).

We welcome papers on primary, blue-skies research, as well as cutting-edge exemplars from policy and industrial practice that can be used to encourage resource efficiency in the biobased sectors (energy and non-energy ones).

Dr. Calliope Panoutsou
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • biobased sectors
  • bioeconomy
  • biomaterials
  • bioenergy
  • biofuels
  • policy
  • research
  • industry

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Effects of Disruption Risks on Biorefinery Location Design
Energies 2015, 8(2), 1468-1486; doi:10.3390/en8021468
Received: 27 September 2014 / Accepted: 27 January 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (617 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While ever-growing bio-ethanol production poses considerable challenges to the bioenergy supply chain, the risk of refinery operation disruptions further compromises the efficiency and reliability of the energy supply system. This paper applies discrete and continuous reliable facility location models to the design [...] Read more.
While ever-growing bio-ethanol production poses considerable challenges to the bioenergy supply chain, the risk of refinery operation disruptions further compromises the efficiency and reliability of the energy supply system. This paper applies discrete and continuous reliable facility location models to the design of reliable bio-ethanol supply chains so that the system can hedge against potential operational disruptions. The discrete model is shown to be suitable for obtaining the exact optimality for small or moderate instances, while the continuous model has superior computational tractability for large-scale applications. The impacts of both site-independent and dependent disruptions (i.e., due to flooding) are analyzed in empirical case study for the State of Illinois (one of the main biomass supply states in the U.S.). The reliable solution is compared with a deterministic solution under the same setting. It is found that refinery disruptions, especially those site-dependent ones, affect both optimal refinery deployment and the supply chain cost. Sensitivity analysis is also conducted to show how refinery failure probability and fixed cost (for building biorefineries) affect optimal supply chain configuration and the total expected system cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries)
Open AccessArticle How Technology Can Improve the Efficiency of Excavator-Based Cable Harvesting for Potential Biomass Extraction—A Woody Productivity Resource and Cost Analysis for Ireland
Energies 2014, 7(12), 8374-8395; doi:10.3390/en7128374
Received: 13 May 2014 / Revised: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 November 2014 / Published: 15 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1344 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Two cable logging systems were reviewed to compare the efficiency of potential biomass extraction from remote forest sites in Ireland based on productive machine hour (PMH) and unit cost of operation (€/m3). Three operational scenarios (SC) were analysed where SC [...] Read more.
Two cable logging systems were reviewed to compare the efficiency of potential biomass extraction from remote forest sites in Ireland based on productive machine hour (PMH) and unit cost of operation (€/m3). Three operational scenarios (SC) were analysed where SC I was a three man crew operation (choker setter, the carriage operator and unhooking chokers). SC II was a variation of this with a two man crew operation. SC III was operating radio controlled chokers there was a two man crew (choker setter and carriage operator). The study aims to assess how operations in Ireland perform against previous known cable studies to determine whether the cost of timber extraction on remote forest sites inaccessible for mechanised felling, has a future given the increased demand for wood fibre in Ireland, both from the sawmilling industries and the wood for energy sector. The volume per PMH was recorded at 17.97 for SC I, 15.09 for SC II and 20.58 m3 for SC III. The difference in productivity versus SC III remote controlled chokers is 5.49 m3/PMH for SC II crew and 2.61 m3/PMH for SC I. The decrease in total volume extracted from SCs I and II versus SC III was recorded at 15.69 m3 (15%) and 32.97 m3 (36%) product respectively. In value terms, the unit cost (€/m3) varied from 6.29 (SC I) to 6.43 (SC II) to 4.57 (SC III). When looking at the production unit costs of normal wood energy supply chains in Ireland, the figures are similar ranging from 3.17 €/m3 to 8.01 €/m3. The value of the end product of course will always determine which market the eventually goes to but given that cable log wood fibre has been unthinned and unmaintained then the biomass sector may be an ever increasing demand point in the search for increased woody biomass given that the unit costs can be competitive with other wood energy supply chains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Uncertainties in Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Advanced Biomass Feedstock Logistics Supply Chains in Kansas
Energies 2014, 7(11), 7125-7146; doi:10.3390/en7117125
Received: 14 July 2014 / Revised: 18 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 4 November 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1968 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
To meet Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) cellulosic biofuel mandates, the United States will require an annual domestic supply of about 242 million Mg of biomass by 2022. To improve the feedstock logistics of lignocellulosic biofuels in order to access available [...] Read more.
To meet Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) cellulosic biofuel mandates, the United States will require an annual domestic supply of about 242 million Mg of biomass by 2022. To improve the feedstock logistics of lignocellulosic biofuels in order to access available biomass resources from areas with varying yields, commodity systems have been proposed and designed to deliver quality-controlled biomass feedstocks at preprocessing “depots”. Preprocessing depots densify and stabilize the biomass prior to long-distance transport and delivery to centralized biorefineries. The logistics of biomass commodity supply chains could introduce spatially variable environmental impacts into the biofuel life cycle due to needing to harvest, move, and preprocess biomass from multiple distances that have variable spatial density. This study examines the uncertainty in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of corn stover logistics within a bio-ethanol supply chain in the state of Kansas, where sustainable biomass supply varies spatially. Two scenarios were evaluated each having a different number of depots of varying capacity and location within Kansas relative to a central commodity-receiving biorefinery to test GHG emissions uncertainty. The first scenario sited four preprocessing depots evenly across the state of Kansas but within the vicinity of counties having high biomass supply density. The second scenario located five depots based on the shortest depot-to-biorefinery rail distance and biomass availability. The logistics supply chain consists of corn stover harvest, collection and storage, feedstock transport from field to biomass preprocessing depot, preprocessing depot operations, and commodity transport from the biomass preprocessing depot to the biorefinery. Monte Carlo simulation was used to estimate the spatial uncertainty in the feedstock logistics gate-to-gate sequence. Within the logistics supply chain GHG emissions are most sensitive to the transport of the densified biomass, which introduces the highest variability (0.2–13 g CO2e/MJ) to life cycle GHG emissions. Moreover, depending upon the biomass availability and its spatial density and surrounding transportation infrastructure (road and rail), logistics can increase the variability in life cycle environmental impacts for lignocellulosic biofuels. Within Kansas, life cycle GHG emissions could range from 24 g CO2e/MJ to 41 g CO2e/MJ depending upon the location, size and number of preprocessing depots constructed. However, this range can be minimized through optimizing the siting of preprocessing depots where ample rail infrastructure exists to supply biomass commodity to a regional biorefinery supply system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Criteria and Indicators for the Bio-Based Economy in Europe: State of Discussion and Way Forward
Energies 2014, 7(11), 6825-6836; doi:10.3390/en7116825
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 5 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 October 2014 / Published: 24 October 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is a strong interest in the EU to promote the bioeconomy sector within the EU 2020 strategy. It is thus necessary to assure a sound sustainability framework. This paper reviews international and European sustainability initiatives mainly for biomass for bioenergy. The [...] Read more.
There is a strong interest in the EU to promote the bioeconomy sector within the EU 2020 strategy. It is thus necessary to assure a sound sustainability framework. This paper reviews international and European sustainability initiatives mainly for biomass for bioenergy. The basic and advanced sustainability indicators are identified and described with particular attention to those points without agreement between stakeholders. Based on the state of the discussion, some suggestions to enhance the sustainable development of the bioeconomy sector are proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries)
Open AccessArticle Challenges in Bioenergy Production from Sugarcane Mills in Developing Countries: A Case Study
Energies 2014, 7(9), 5874-5898; doi:10.3390/en7095874
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 6 August 2014 / Accepted: 27 August 2014 / Published: 10 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1991 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Worldwide energy policies are moving towards a reduction of fossil fuels’ share in the energy mix and to invest in renewable and green energy sources. Biomass is one of these, and it represents, in the form of sugarcane, a strategic source in [...] Read more.
Worldwide energy policies are moving towards a reduction of fossil fuels’ share in the energy mix and to invest in renewable and green energy sources. Biomass is one of these, and it represents, in the form of sugarcane, a strategic source in Colombia, especially in the Valle del Cauca. In this region, the sugarcane industry is able to convert the energy content of the cane into different energy products, such as ethanol, electricity, and high-pressure steam, which are cogenerated via bagasse combustion. In this work, the case of a sucrose and ethanol production plant, which mills ten thousand tons of sugarcane per day, is considered. A tailor-made computational model was developed to assess the energy and material process balances in order to estimate the effect of different operating conditions on cogeneration boilers and turbines, and to optimize the overall process efficiency. The current situation was modeled with good precision from the developed model. Likewise, the concept of “Renewable Efficiency” was introduced to explain the degree of green power, which a process plant is able to produce. Consequently, new innovative solutions and process layouts were proposed in order to increase their renewable efficiency. With the new configurations, a convenient energy surplus of up to 33 MW can be reached, which could be sold in the national electricity grid, representing long-term interesting economic benefits for the company. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries)
Open AccessArticle The Forest Energy Chain in Tuscany: Economic Feasibility and Environmental Effects of Two Types of Biomass District Heating Plant
Energies 2014, 7(9), 5899-5921; doi:10.3390/en7095899
Received: 26 January 2014 / Revised: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 27 August 2014 / Published: 10 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1076 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine two biomass district heating plants operating in Tuscany, with a specific focus on the ex-post evaluation of their economic and financial feasibility and of their environmental benefits. The former biomass district heating plant supplies [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine two biomass district heating plants operating in Tuscany, with a specific focus on the ex-post evaluation of their economic and financial feasibility and of their environmental benefits. The former biomass district heating plant supplies only public users (Comunità Montana della Lunigiana, CML: administrative body that coordinates the municipalities located in mountain areas), the latter supplies both public and private users (Municipality of San Romano in Garfagnana). Ex-post investment analysis was performed to check both the consistency of results with the forecasts made in the stage of the project design and on the factors, which may have reduced or jeopardized the estimated economic performance of the investment (ex-ante assessment). The results of the study point out appreciable results only in the case of biomass district heating plants involving private users and fuelled by biomasses sourced from third parties. In this case, the factors that most influence ex-post results include the conditions of the woody biomass local market (market prices), the policies of energy selling prices to private users and the temporal dynamics of private users’ connection. To ensure the consistency of ex-post economic outcome with the expected results it is thus important to: (i) have good knowledge of the woody local market; (ii) define energy selling prices that should be cheap for private users but consistent with energy production costs and (iii) constrain private users beforehand to prevent errors in the plant design and in the preliminary estimate of return on investment. Moreover, the results obtained during the monitoring activities could help in providing information on the effectiveness of the supporting measures adopted and also to orient future choices of policy makers and particularly designers, to identify the most efficient configuration of district heating organization for improving energy and environmental performances of communities, and to develop a chain model for the optimization of energy use in the municipality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries)
Open AccessArticle Application of US and EU Sustainability Criteria to Analysis of Biofuels-Induced Land Use Change
Energies 2014, 7(8), 5119-5128; doi:10.3390/en7085119
Received: 11 May 2014 / Revised: 18 July 2014 / Accepted: 6 August 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (555 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research asks and answers a question that had been avoided by all the previous research on biofuels impacts. That is, to what extent are the US and EU biofuels sustainability criteria binding in the sense that if applied, sufficient land would [...] Read more.
This research asks and answers a question that had been avoided by all the previous research on biofuels impacts. That is, to what extent are the US and EU biofuels sustainability criteria binding in the sense that if applied, sufficient land would be available to implement the programs? In answering the question, we simulate the global land by agro-ecological zone that would be needed to supply feedstocks for the US and EU biofuel programs using an advanced version of the GTAP-BIO model. Then we estimate the global area of land that would not be available due to sustainability criteria restrictions, again by agro-ecological zone. Finally, we determine the extent to which the US and EU sustainability criteria are binding and find that they are not binding at the biofuel levels currently targeted by the US and EU. In addition, we evaluate the same question, but this time freezing global food consumption, and get the same answer—plenty of land is available to meet the targets and supply food demands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries)

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