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Special Issue "Economics of Bioenergy 2015"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2015).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Robert Lundmark
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden
Interests: forest, energy and environmental economics; econometrics and mathematical programming methods; economic policy; bioeconomy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, The transition to a bioeconomy, and thus to a higher dependence on biomass for a range of uses, faces several challenges. This Special Issue focuses on the use of biomass (from various sources) for producing bioenergy and the economic challenges of such usage. The scope of this Special Issue encompasses empirical and theoretical contributions that focus on bioenergy and e.g., demand and supply issues, policy implementation and design, innovation, market creation, competition, and trade. Other areas of study may also be considered, but they must have a clear bearing towards identified economic challenges and be based on economic theory. Prof. Dr. Robert Lundmark Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind 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 semimonthly 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 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • bioenergy economic instrument biomass forestry agricultural waste ocean biofuel

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Pricing of Biomethane Products Targeted at Private Households in Germany—Product Attributes and Providers’ Pricing Strategies
Energies 2016, 9(4), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9040252 - 30 Mar 2016
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2383
Abstract
In the effort to combat global warming, renewable energies play a key role. However, most efforts are still focused on the electricity market, so renewables remain underrepresented in the heat market. Biomethane derived from biogas is an intriguing option for using renewable energy [...] Read more.
In the effort to combat global warming, renewable energies play a key role. However, most efforts are still focused on the electricity market, so renewables remain underrepresented in the heat market. Biomethane derived from biogas is an intriguing option for using renewable energy to generate heat in residential homes. However, biomethane comes at a significantly higher cost than natural gas, meaning providers have to ask a price premium from consumers. Determining a pricing strategy is thus of crucial importance. Besides cost, providers have to consider consumers’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the product. We propose that they could draw on existing research on WTP for green electricity, albeit with some important modifications and scarce research on biomethane. To explore this proposition, we performed a first-of-its-kind analysis of providers’ pricing strategies for biomethane, using both providers’ published data and data provided in response to e-mail queries. Based on the features and prices of 165 biomethane-based gas products for private households in Germany, we find that features that could, according to existing research, elicit a higher WTP are not priced accordingly. As the consumer market for biomethane is still in its early development, our results suggest opportunities for providers to ask higher prices for certain biomethane-based gas products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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Article
Decomposing Industrial Energy-Related CO2 Emissions in Yunnan Province, China: Switching to Low-Carbon Economic Growth
Energies 2016, 9(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9010023 - 04 Jan 2016
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3215
Abstract
As a less-developed province that has been chosen to be part of a low-carbon pilot project, Yunnan faces the challenge of maintaining rapid economic growth while reducing CO2 emissions. Understanding the drivers behind CO2 emission changes can help decouple economic growth [...] Read more.
As a less-developed province that has been chosen to be part of a low-carbon pilot project, Yunnan faces the challenge of maintaining rapid economic growth while reducing CO2 emissions. Understanding the drivers behind CO2 emission changes can help decouple economic growth from CO2 emissions. However, previous studies on the drivers of CO2 emissions in less-developed regions that focus on both production and final demand have been seldom conducted. In this study, a structural decomposition analysis-logarithmic mean Divisia index (SDA-LMDI) model was developed to find the drivers behind the CO2 emission changes during 1997–2012 in Yunnan, based on times series energy consumption and input-output data. The results demonstrated that the sharp rise in exports of high-carbon products from the metal processing and electricity sectors increased CO2 emissions, during 2002–2007. Although increased investments in the construction sector also increased CO2 emissions, during 2007–2012, the carbon intensity of Yunnan’s economy decreased substantially because the province vigorously developed hydropower and improved energy efficiency in energy-intensive sectors. Construction investments not only carbonized the GDP composition, but also formed a carbon-intensive production structure because of high-carbon supply chains. To further mitigate CO2 emissions in Yunnan, measures should promote the development and application of clean energy and the formation of consumption-based economic growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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Article
Substitutability of Electricity and Renewable Materials for Fossil Fuels in a Post-Carbon Economy
Energies 2015, 8(12), 13308-13343; https://doi.org/10.3390/en81212371 - 25 Nov 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5102
Abstract
A feasible way to avoid the risk of energy decline and combat climate change is to build a 100% renewable global energy mix. However, a globally electrified economy cannot grow much above 12 electric terawatts without putting pressure on the limits of finite [...] Read more.
A feasible way to avoid the risk of energy decline and combat climate change is to build a 100% renewable global energy mix. However, a globally electrified economy cannot grow much above 12 electric terawatts without putting pressure on the limits of finite mineral reserves. Here we analyze whether 12 TW of electricity and 1 TW of biomass (final) power will be able to fuel a future post-carbon economy that can provide similar services to those of a contemporary economy. Contrarily to some pessimistic expectations, this analysis shows that the principle economic processes can be replaced with sustainable alternatives based on electricity, charcoal, biogas and hydrogen. Furthermore, those services that cannot be replaced are not as crucial so as to cause a return to a pre-industrial society. Even so, land transport and aviation are at the limit of what is sustainable, outdoor work should be reorganized, metal primary production should be based on hydrogen reduction when possible, mineral production should be increasingly based on recycling, the petrochemical industry should shrink to a size of 40%–43% of the 2012 petrochemical sector, i.e., a size similar to that the sector had in 1985–1986, and agriculture may require organic farming methods to be sustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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Article
Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 3: Macroeconomic Historical and Future Perspectives
Energies 2015, 8(11), 12997-13020; https://doi.org/10.3390/en81112348 - 17 Nov 2015
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 6395
Abstract
I use energy cost share to characterize the role of energy in the economy. Specifically, I use an estimate of monetary expenditures for primary energy on an annualized basis for forty-four countries from 1978 to 2010 for natural gas, coal, petroleum, and electricity. [...] Read more.
I use energy cost share to characterize the role of energy in the economy. Specifically, I use an estimate of monetary expenditures for primary energy on an annualized basis for forty-four countries from 1978 to 2010 for natural gas, coal, petroleum, and electricity. I show that global energy cost share is significantly correlated to a one-year lag in the change in gross domestic product as well as measures of total factor productivity. Given the historical reduction in the relative cost of energy (including food and fodder for animate power) since the start of the Industrial Revolution, combined with a global energy cost share estimate, I conclude that the turn of the 21st Century represents the time period with the cheapest energy in the history of human civilization (to date). This potential historical nadir for energy expenditures around 2000 has important ramifications for strategies to solve future social, economic, and environmental problems such as reducing annual emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Rapidly decreasing annual GHG emissions while internalizing their costs into the economy might feedback to increase energy expenditures to such a degree as to prevent economic growth during that transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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Article
Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 2: Total Economy Expenditure Perspective
Energies 2015, 8(11), 12975-12996; https://doi.org/10.3390/en81112347 - 17 Nov 2015
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4986
Abstract
We translate between energetic and economic metrics that characterize the role of energy in the economy. Specifically, we estimate monetary expenditures for the primary energy and net external power ratio (NEPR direct ; NEPR, net external power ratio), a power return ratio of [...] Read more.
We translate between energetic and economic metrics that characterize the role of energy in the economy. Specifically, we estimate monetary expenditures for the primary energy and net external power ratio (NEPR direct ; NEPR, net external power ratio), a power return ratio of annual energy production divided by annual direct energy inputs within the energy industry. We estimate these on an annualized basis for forty-four countries from 1978 to 2010. Expressed as a fraction of gross domestic product (GDP), f e , GDP , the forty-four country aggregate (composing >90% world GDP) worldwide expenditures on energy decreased from a maximum of 10.3% in 1979 to a minimum of 3.0% in 1998 before increasing to a second peak of 8.1% in 2008. While the global f e , GDP fluctuates significantly, global NEPR direct declined from a value of 34 in 1980 to 17 in 1986 before staying in a range between 14 and 16 from 1991 to 2010. In comparing both of these metrics as ratios of power output over power input, one economic ( f e , GDP - 1 ) and one biophysical (NEPR direct ), we see that when the former divided by the latter is below unity, the world was in a low-growth or recessionary state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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Article
Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 1: Single Technology and Commodity Perspective
Energies 2015, 8(11), 12949-12974; https://doi.org/10.3390/en81112346 - 17 Nov 2015
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4001
Abstract
We translate between biophysical and economic metrics that characterize the role of energy in the economy. Specifically, using data from the International Energy Agency, we estimate the energy intensity ratio (EIR), a price-based proxy for a power return ratio (PRR ∼ P out [...] Read more.
We translate between biophysical and economic metrics that characterize the role of energy in the economy. Specifically, using data from the International Energy Agency, we estimate the energy intensity ratio (EIR), a price-based proxy for a power return ratio (PRR ∼ P out / P invested ). The EIR is a useful metric, because for most countries and energy commodities, it can indicate the biophysical trends of net energy when data are too scarce to perform an original net energy analysis. We calculate EIR for natural gas, coal, petroleum and electricity for forty-four countries from 1978 to 2010. Global EIR values generally rise from 1978 to 1998, decline from 1998 to 2008 and then slightly rebound. These trends indicate one interpretation of the net energy of the world economy. To add perspective to our recent, but short, time series, we perform the same calculations for historical England and United Kingdom energy prices to demonstrate that a given energy price translates to different PRRs (EIR in this case) depending on the structure of the economy and technology. We review the formulation of PRRs and energy return ratios (ERR ∼ E out / E invested ) to indicate why PRRs translate to (the inverse of) energy prices and ERRs translate to (the inverse of) energy costs. We show why for any given value of an ERR or PRR, there is not a single corresponding energy cost or price, and vice versa. These principles in turn provide the basis to perform better modeling of future energy scenarios (e.g., low-carbon transition) by considering the relationship between economic metrics (cost and price) and biophysical metrics (energy and power return ratios) based on energy, material and power flows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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Article
Economic Evaluation on Bio-Synthetic Natural Gas Production Integrated in a Thermomechanical Pulp Mill
Energies 2015, 8(11), 12795-12809; https://doi.org/10.3390/en81112343 - 12 Nov 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3413
Abstract
In this study, biorefinery as a concept is applied to thermomechanical pulp (TMP)-based paper production to evaluate the possibility of co-production of synthetic natural gas (SNG), electricity and district heating in addition to mechanical pulp and paper. The combined heat and power plant [...] Read more.
In this study, biorefinery as a concept is applied to thermomechanical pulp (TMP)-based paper production to evaluate the possibility of co-production of synthetic natural gas (SNG), electricity and district heating in addition to mechanical pulp and paper. The combined heat and power plant (CHP) associated to TMP is replaced by a biomass-to-SNG (BtSNG) plant. Implementing BtSNG in a mechanical pulp production line might improve the profitability of a TMP mill and also help to commercialize the BtSNG technology by taking into account of some key issues such as biomass availability, heat utilization, etc. A TMP + BtSNG mathematical model is developed with ASPEN Plus. The model prediction shows that the scale of the TMP + BtSNG mill and SNG price are two strong factors for the implementation of BtSNG in a TMP mill. A BtSNG plant associated to a TMP mill should be built at a scale above 100 MW of biomass thermal input. For the case of Swedish economic condition, commercialization of SNG production as a transport biofuel has not matured yet. Political instruments to support commercialization of transport biofuel are necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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Article
Are Shocks to Wood Fuel Production Permanent? Evidence from the EU
Energies 2015, 8(11), 12718-12728; https://doi.org/10.3390/en81112335 - 11 Nov 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2549
Abstract
This paper investigates whether shocks (economic effects) to wood fuel production for 18 countries of the European Union (EU) over the period 1961–2012 are temporary or persistent. A variety of time-series and panel data unit root tests are employed. The presence of structural [...] Read more.
This paper investigates whether shocks (economic effects) to wood fuel production for 18 countries of the European Union (EU) over the period 1961–2012 are temporary or persistent. A variety of time-series and panel data unit root tests are employed. The presence of structural breaks is taken into account when performing those tests. Wood production in approximately 78% of the countries is found to follow a non-stationary process supported by the result that most of the panel unit root tests also point towards a non-stationary process. This indicates that the economic effect will tend to be persistent and suggests that policies affecting wood fuel production, implicitly or explicitly, will have enduring effects. For instance, forest conservation policies will persistently reduce the wood fuel production level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
Article
Analysing Performance Characteristics of Biomass Haulage in Ireland for Bioenergy Markets with GPS, GIS and Fuel Diagnostic Tools
Energies 2015, 8(10), 12004-12019; https://doi.org/10.3390/en81012004 - 22 Oct 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2463
Abstract
In Ireland, truck transport by road dominates and will remain the main transportation mode of biomass. Cost efficiency and flexibility of forest transport can be typically improved by optimising routes. It is important to know every process and attributes within the workflow of [...] Read more.
In Ireland, truck transport by road dominates and will remain the main transportation mode of biomass. Cost efficiency and flexibility of forest transport can be typically improved by optimising routes. It is important to know every process and attributes within the workflow of roundwood transport. This study aimed to analyse characteristics of timber trucking in Ireland, and to estimate the least-cost route for the distribution of biomass with the use of geographic information systems (GIS). Firstly, a tracking system that recorded the truck’s movements and fuel consumption was installed. A total of 152 trips were recorded, routes were chosen by the truck driver. The recorded information was used to analyse the distances and times travelled loaded and unloaded per road class, breaks, loading and unloading times as well as fuel consumption. Secondly, the routes taken by the truck where compared with routes created using Network Analyst (NA), an extension of ArcGIS. Four scenarios based on route selection criteria were selected: shortest distance (S1), shorted time (S2), and prioritising high-class roads with shortest distance (S3) and time (S4). Results from the analysis of the tracking system data showed that driving both loaded and unloaded occupied on average 69% of the driver’s working shift; with an average time driving loaded of 49%. The travel distance per trip varied from 112 km and 197 km, with the truck driver using mostly national and regional roads. An average 2% of the total distance and 11% of the total time was spent driving on forest roads. In general, the truck’s speed recorded on the different road classes was on average 30% lower than the legal maximum speed. The average fuel consumption was 0.64 L/km. In terms of the route comparison, the driving directions from the truck routes coincided with 77% of the directions of the routes based on shortest driving time (S2 and S4). All the routes chosen by the driver had 22% longer distance than the routes in S1 (shortest distance). The routes selected based on shortest distance (S1 and S3) had the longest travelling time, approximately 19% more than the ones taken by the truck and 30% more than S2 and S4. The average running cost for the truck was 0.83 €/km. Choosing the shortest distance routes (S1 and S3) not only implies reducing travelling costs but also a reduction of CO2 emissions by 12% in comparison to routes in S2 and S4. However, when selecting the routes, travel time can be a much more crucial parameter to analyse rather than distance in terms of transportation costs. Choosing the routes generated in scenario S2 over S1 implied an increase in distance by 12% but a decrease in time of 30%. Less driving time translates into better driving conditions across higher classes or roads; less wear and tear of trucks; and lesser fuel used. It also complies with local authorities preferences of having timber trucks move on higher road types in order to minimise the expenses associated with road maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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Article
An Approach to Identify the Suitable Plant Location for Miscanthus-Based Ethanol Industry: A Case Study in Ontario, Canada
Energies 2015, 8(9), 9266-9281; https://doi.org/10.3390/en8099266 - 28 Aug 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2721
Abstract
The life cycle (LC) of ethanol extracted from Miscanthus has been evaluated to identify the potential location for the Miscanthus-based ethanol industry in Ontario, Canada to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and minimize the production cost of ethanol. Four scenarios are established [...] Read more.
The life cycle (LC) of ethanol extracted from Miscanthus has been evaluated to identify the potential location for the Miscanthus-based ethanol industry in Ontario, Canada to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and minimize the production cost of ethanol. Four scenarios are established considering the land classes, land use, and cropping patterns in Ontario, Canada. The net energy consumption, emissions, and cost of ethanol are observed to be dependent on the processing plant location and scenarios. The net energy consumption, emissions, and cost vary from 12.9 MJ/L to 13.4 MJ/L, 0.79 $/L to 0.84 $/L, and 0.45 kg-CO2e/L to 1.32 kg-CO2e/L, respectively, which are reliant on the scenarios. Eastern Ontario has emerged as the best option. This study reveals that Miscanthus is a potential feedstock for the ethanol industries in Ontario, even if it is cultivated on marginal land. This study also highlights the contribution of energy crops (Miscanthus) to avoid the potential technical and economic constraints of lignocellulosic biomass for the renewable energy industry. Miscanthus may help avoid competition with food crops for prime land (higher quality land that is suitable for food crops), avoid the food versus fuel debate, help meet the ethanol demand, and achieve the GHG emissions abatement target of Canada. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2015)
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