The importance of energy is bound to the currently ongoing climate change, the availability, cost and the security of the energy supply - all of them being part of the concept of sustainable development. A key factor for achieving sustainability is the increased use of renewables, and lower CO2 emissions. Biomass and fuels derived from it are one of the promising alternatives.
The main advances in the field include energy integration in industry and the design of Combined Heat and Power systems. This has been followed by extensive research on utilisation of renewables from which biomass is one of the most popular options. 'Energy Supply Chains Design and Management for Higher Efficiency and Sustainable Future' is an interdisciplinary project aimed at creating a strong team for research on energy/resource efficiency and sustainable development, led by the applicant. The research will be based on several key concepts. The recognition of the systems nature of energy has significantly increased in recent years, but it there is still lack of a well-established structuring paradigm.
Life Cycle Analysis is a well-developed set of ideas and tools, many of which applied in the energy field. This will be used in order to model comprehensively the environmental, social and economic impacts of the energy solutions. LCA alone is not sufficient - problems stem from lack of appropriate data, and unclear system boundaries. To allow for clear definition of system boundaries LCA will be applied in the context of the combined energy-food-waste supply chains.
The results from the project are expected to benefit commercial enterprises allowing them to evolve continuously towards increased share of renewable energy in most economic way. Policy makers will benefit from being able to better plan the energy and environmental regulations, so that the sustainability goals are achieved at minimum cost for the society.
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