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Total costs and benefits of biomass in selected regions of the Eurpean Union



The objective of the study is to fill the existing analytical gap on the external costs of the energetic use of biomass. It will thereby supplement the research on external costs of energy under the external cost accounting framework ExternE developed for the European Commission (DG XII). In addition to ExternE's focus on toxic air pollutants, the study will also take into account impacts on soil and ground water as well as the global warming issue.

Since possible impacts of biomass are highly dependent on the fuel types and conversion technologies used, the study tries to cover a broad range of possible biomass applications. Thus, six case studies are carried out, each dealing with a different biomass technology using a different biofuel in a different country of the EU. This approach will also allow to study the legal, institutional and social framework for the energetic use of biomass and to identify incentives, as well as obstacles to its dissemination.
Technical Approach

The research will be based on the impact-pathway approach for the analysis of external costs as developed under the ExternE project. Based on specific, already operating examples of six different technologies for the energetic use of biomass, the impact pathways from the production of the biomass through its processing and energetic use to the final disposal of remaining residues will be analyzed with respect to their internal costs, emissions, impacts, damages, and external costs. Human-health impacts, global warming, land use (including biodiversity, erosion etc.), and rural amenity have been identified as priority impacts so far. In addition, non-monetizable impacts will be discussed on a qualitative basis.
The economic impacts will be modeled on the basis of comparative static input-output analysis. National results will be recalculated for regional impacts based on the regional economic structure. The economic impacts analyzed will be direct and indirect employment effects, effects on gross production, gross value added and on the different components of gross value added. As far as possible, the analyses for the different member countries will be based on national input-output tables using ZEW's I/O-model "Emittentenstruktur".

To enable future evaluations of proposed biomass projects, a survey of available evaluation tools will be conducted and lists of critical parameters for the technical specification of a biomass project will compiled.

To discuss the practical relevance of the project results, workshops will be held for relevant actors from agriculture, plant operators, processing industry, electrical utilities, local and regional political bodies, and administrations for each case study towards the end of the project.

The results of the project will be a reference for the cost-benefit analysis of the biomass options, based on concrete experiments. A wide dissemination will be ensured both to the energy actors and also to the energy economists. Comparisons with other sources of information (like EXTERNE) will be subject of workshops.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Hl 7-1
68034 Mannheim

Participants (4)

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
2800 Lyngby
ISR - Instituto de Sistemas e Robótica
Largo Marques De Pombal
3000 Coimbra
United Kingdom
Stamford Street 150
SE1 9NN London
Vattenfall Utveckling AB
99,Jaemtlandsgatan 99
162 87 Stockholm