Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


TRIAS Report Summary

Project ID: 12534
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Germany

Sustainable use of biofuels for transport

The project results achieved were an update of the POLES, ASTRA, Vaclav and Regio-Sustain models with new model elements required for the specific scenario analysis in TRIAS e.g. extending to the time horizon 2050, adding new technologies to the vehicle fleets, modelling of biofuels for the energy and transport markets as well as the new development of the Biofuel model. In particular, the ASTRA model made a large step ahead as during the course of the project it was agreed to actually modularise the software and to develop a tool that would merge it back to the integrated System Dynamics model that incorporates the most important feedbacks between transport, energy, technology and the economy. A further achievement was the improved linkage between ASTRA and POLES that enabled fast running of scenarios in an iterative manner and achieving convergence between the two models.

In the shorter term, setting CO2 emission limits will provide economic stimulus as well as reducing CO2 emissions. This can be reinforced by fostering biofuels. The type of biofuels must be carefully selected according to sustainability criteria and to limit the use of biofuels, because (1) overemphasised use of biofuels could lead to strong conflicts between the use of biomass for food and the use for energy, which seems not to be reasonable considering (2) that the impacts on economy and CO2 emissions of the biofuels policies remain limited. In the longer term, hydrogen seems to be a suitable option to foster economic growth and to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and other environmental impacts of transport. However, this presupposes that other countries follow the same but delayed trend towards transport infrastructure based on hydrogen and, therefore, hydrogen cars would become a more successful export good than todays European cars. Furthermore, it assumes that this hydrogen is mainly produced from renewable sources.

Applying the improved models and using the newly established linkages between the models the eight policy scenarios could be tested and compared with the baseline scenario. The main conclusion is that all scenarios showed both a positive impact on the economy, though in most of the scenarios the improvement remained quite limited, and a reduction of emissions and resource use. The two most effective scenarios were the first mover scenario for hydrogen and the introduction of CO2 emission limits, because the main driver for making scenarios positive were the additional investments induced by the policy and these two were the scenarios with the highest investments. A further stimulus was the reduction of fossil fuel imports. It has clearly to be noticed that all scenarios were comprehensively specified such that e.g. to increase investments always either increased cost, increased taxes or government expenditures are specified that would keep the economic system closed.

The main findings are: the policies applied changed EU development in the desired direction. However, implementing them in a moderate way as in TRIAS would not be sufficient to achieve European policy targets such as achieving a significant reduction of transport CO2 emissions or increasing security of energy supply. This requires more ambitious and stringent policies e.g. in terms of higher carbon taxes than in TRIAS, comprehensive carbon taxation of all fuels or more focused subsidy of new vehicle technologies at market entry. The TRIAS sensitivity analysis reveals that such policies would pay-off for Europe, in particular when oil prices are sustained at current high levels.

Reported by

Fraunhofer ISI
Breslauer Strasse 48
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