Issuu on Google+

PRODUCING BIOENERGY AND MAKING THE BEST OF EUROPEAN LAND european

fertilizer

manufacturers

association


CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2

INTRODUCTION

3

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

PRODUCING RENEWABLE ENERGY - KEY CHALLENGES AND AMBITIOUS TARGETS FOR THE EU

4

POSSIBLE WAYS TO PRODUCE ENERGY FROM BIOMASS

6

POSITIVE ENERGY AND CO2 BALANCE OF BIOMASS PRODUCTION IN EUROPE

10

MINERAL FERTILIZERS CONTRIBUTE TO MEETING THE EU TARGETS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY

12

CONCLUSIONS

15

2

The European Union has identified biomass as a major future source for the production of renewable energy. Energy crops can be grown on all agricultural land, but particularly on the 4 mio. ha of land which are currently set-aside. Mineral fertilizers are very important for the production of bioenergy, as their

use enables farmers to produce high biomass yields. These high yields help meet the ambitious targets for bioenergy set by the EU. Mineral fertilizers help produce 4 to 6 times more energy in the form of biomass compared to what is consumed during production, transport and application of the fertilizer.


PRODUCING BIOENERGY AND MAKING THE BEST OF EUROPEAN LAND

INTRODUCTION Biomass is a rather simple term for all organic material that comes from plants, animals or humans. Biomass sources that produce bioenergy are therefore diverse and include organic waste streams, agricultural and forestry residues, as well as crops grown specifically to produce heat, fuels and electricity. Research is conducted in this area to develop new energy crop species with a higher dry matter ratio, and which are more adapted to a new generation of bioenergy production processes. Biomass is a major source for the production of renewable energy. In contrast to other renewable energy sources, biomass can provide energy in a reliable and constantly available form as it is more

independent of weather conditions such as lack of wind and cloudiness. Fertilizers play a key role in the production of bioenergy. Their use enables the farmers to produce high biomass yields. These high yields are necessary because of the limited amount of available land for growing energy crops and the ambitious bioenergy targets set by the EU. The bioenergy sector is developing very quickly, both on the technical and market side. Therefore, the assumptions made in this paper may only be valid for the short-term (for the coming months or one year) and may need to be reviewed.

3


PRODUCING RENEWABLE ENERGY − KEY CHALLENGES It is widely known today that fossil energy resources will become scarce within the next 100 years. Coal is the only fossil energy resource that may last longer. Oil and gas resources are estimated at lasting for 25 and 70 years respectively at current price and related consumption. Hence, in order to meet the future energy requirements of the world population, other sustainable and reliable energy sources for the different energy purposes (heat, electricity and liquid fuels) need to be developed. Because short-term efforts are needed to stimulate the development, the EU has already set goals for development of renewable energy: • A 12% share of renewable energy sources (wind, water, solar, biomass) of total energy consumption in 2010 (a 6% share has been achieved in 2001). About 3/4 of the 12% share of renewable energy sources is supposed to come from biomass (table 1). • A 5.75% share of liquid biofuels on the total fuel market in 2010 (0.6% has been reached in 2002). In addition, several countries have introduced programs to support the development, production and use of bioenergy (e.g. reduced or no taxation on biofuels, payments for the production of “bioelectricity”). Photo credit: Statoil

4

Table 1: EU targets (EU White Paper, 1997) on Renewable Energy Sources (RES) (in mio. tonne oil equivalents, Mtoe). Type of RES

Contribution in 1995

Target contribution in 2010

Additional contribution

Biomass

44.8

135.00

+ 90.20 (+ 201%)

Hydropower

26.4

30.55

+ 4.15 (+ 15.7%)

Wind

0.35

6.90

+ 6.55 (+ 1871%)

Solar thermal collectors

0.26

4.00

+ 3.74 (+ 1438%)

Photovoltaics

0.002

0.26

+ 0.26 (+ 13000%)

Geothermal

2.5

5.20

+ 2.70 (+ 108%)

Total

74.31

The scarcity of land and the restricted availability of water in certain areas of Europe are the most pressing factors which limit the production of bioenergy crops. Most of the bioenergy crops are grown on idle land or set-aside land. In Europe about 4 mio. ha of set-aside land is potentially available, and a vast part of this land can be used to grow energy crops. In the future, the WTO agreements and their impact on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) may lead to a decrease of land dedicated to food production, and therefore an increase of the amounts of land becoming available for the production of bioenergy crops. The new measures of the CAP are already facilitating the growing of energy crops on 1.5 mio. ha of land

181.91

+ 107.60

in the areas at present dedicated to food production. This land benefits from energy crop premium that is paid by the EU (€45/ha). Furthermore, the evolution of a price differential (higher prices for bioenergy compared to food prices) could convince an increasing number of farmers to produce bioenergy crops rather than crops for food. Biomass is the only renewable form of energy that can be stored and transported. It is available for the entire year and can therefore provide energy in a constant and regular way. Furthermore, biomass is able to deliver all three types of energy that are consumed by the society: heat, electricity and liquid fuels for transport purposes. Figure 1 gives


PRODUCING BIOENERGY AND MAKING THE BEST OF EUROPEAN LAND

AND AMBITIOUS TARGETS FOR THE EU figures on the contribution of biomass to the heat, electricity and fuel market in the EU. Heat and electricity can also be produced by other renewable energy sources (wind, water, solar and geothermic), but the ability to produce liquid fuels is unique to biomass. Liquid biofuel is a form of energy that is easily storable and transportable. Until the hydrogen technology is fully developed, it is the only possible alternative form of energy for certain transport usages. In the EU, the transport sector is responsible for an estimated 21% of all Greenhouse Gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol fixes an important target regarding the reduction on Greenhouse Gases. Biomass grown to produce energy can help to achieve this target, because their use is CO2 neutral: it does not use fossil carbon but the current carbon. Only the amount of CO2 that has been fixed during growth (photosynthesis) is released when the biomass is burnt or gasified.

Figure 1: Contribution of biomass to the heat, electricity and fuel market in the EU (1999–2002) �����������

������ ��� ���������� ��

��� ���

��������� �� ������� ����� ������������ �����

��� ��� ������������������

���������� ���

������ ���

������� ��� ��������� �� ������ �� ������������ ���� �������������� �����

������� ��� ���������������� ������ �� �������� ��� ������ ���

���������� ����

����������� ���� ������������ ����

�������� ��� Source: Jahrbuch - Erneuerbare Energien 02/03

5


POSSIBLE WAYS TO PRODUCE ENERGY FROM BIOMASS Figure 3: Average energy efficiency in the production of electricity and/or heat

�������������

����������

Figure 2: Routes to produce energy from biomass (simplified)

�������� ������� ��������� ������������ ������

�����������

����������

����

������

�������� ����������������

������ �����������

������������������

��������

�������� ����������������

������������������

���������

�������������� �������

����������������

�����������

The energy bound in biomass needs to be transformed into a usable form, such as heat, electricity or liquid biofuels. Figure 2 shows the different possible ways to produce energy from biomass: biomass is first converted into usable carriers of energy such as dry biomass, biogas or biofuels. These carriers are then burnt to provide heat, electricity and transport. Dry biomass can be burnt directly in ovens or in combined heat/power plants to produce heat and/or electricity. However, depending on what is produced, the energy efficiency is different (figure 3).

����������� ���

�������� ����������

Biogas serves as an energy carrier for the production of heat and electricity, but can also be used in cars or buses equipped with special engines. All types of liquid biofuels (biodiesel, bioethanol, vegetable oil) are predominantly used for purposes such as road transport.

INCINERATION OF BIOMASS

���������� �������� �������

��������� �������������

Production of biogas

6

�������

��������

The incineration of dry solid biomass to produce heat is already common practice in several countries (especially in Scandinavia and Austria). Wood and straw are the main products used today. When heat is produced from the incineration of biomass (e.g. cereals), the energy efficiency is high (figure 4). Incineration of cereals is an attractive alternative for a farmer because the raw material is directly


PRODUCING BIOENERGY AND MAKING THE BEST OF EUROPEAN LAND

available on the farm. Cereals have a high storage density and the investment costs for incineration facilities on the farm are comparably low. Some countries have regulations that restrict the use of cereal grains in conventional wood or straw firingunits because of potentially high NOx and dust particle emissions. However, firing-units certified for the burning of grain have recently been introduced onto the markets. Such technical developments may stimulate the use of cereals for incineration, not least because the situation on the fossil fuel market makes them economically very attractive as an alternative to mineral oil (table 2).

Table 2: Heating values and 2005 prices for different fuels (costs for heating boilers not considered) Heating value (kWh/kg)

Price for fuel (€/kg)

Price for heat (cent/kWh)

Oil

9.8

0.60

6.1

Gas

9.2

0.55

6.0

Wood

4.8

0.18

3.7

Grain (cereals)

4.7

0.10

2.1

Fuel

BIOGAS Biogas is commonly used in some countries. It can be fed into gas grids or it can be used as a source for electricity and heat production. For example, in Germany biogas plants are predominantly used for

Figure 4: Amount of heat produced from incineration of biomass (e.g. 1 tonne of cereals) ������������������������ ����������������������� ����������������������

��� ��

������������������

�� �� �� �� �� �� �� �� �

�������������������������� �������������������������

����

electricity production as, according to the Law on Renewable Energy (EEG), a special price rate is granted to farmers for each kW of electricity that is produced from biomass and fed into the public electricity network. Biogas is mainly an option in regions with higher animal densities, where slurry is used as a stabilising medium in the fermentation process. Studies have shown that in practice a considerable amount of energy (up to 40%) can be lost when biomass is used as an energy source for biogas plants (figure 5). This loss is primarily due to an incomplete conversion of the organic substance to biogas in the fermentation boiler. In addition an unavoidable loss of energy occurs when the biogas is incinerated to produce electricity. This loss, however, is not specific to biogas and occurs every time electricity is produced from gas, oil or other materials. The efficiency of electricity production from biogas, solid or liquid biofuels varies in practice between 15 and 40% (equivalent to an efficiency

Source: Faustzahlen für die Landwirtschaft, 13. Auflage, KTBL, Yara, 2005

7


Figure 5: Amount of electricity produced from 1 tonne of cereal used in a biogas plant ���

��������������������� �������������������� ������������������ ����������������������

��

������������������

�� �� �� ��

������������������������� ����������������������������� ������������������� ����������������������

�� �� �� �� �

���� ��������

�������

������������

������������

����������� ����������

����������������������������������������������

loss of 85 to 60%) dependent on the technology and the material used for incineration.

LIQUID BIOFUELS Liquid biofuels can deliver energy which can be transported and stored. The demand for biofuels is high because of the EU targets to increase the share of liquid biofuels in the total fuel market (5.75% share by 2010). The economic advantages have also increased because of high prices for gasoline/diesel and the fact that there is no tax on biofuels in some countries.

8

Liquid biofuels are: • Synthetic fuels or Biogas To Liquids (BTL) are more a long-term option and they are still being developed. Nearly every organic raw material can be used as an energy source for this process. Synthetic fuels are very much promoted by the car industry as the best option for the future (apart from hydrogen cells), as they deliver a high quality fuel that can be adjusted to the requirements of today’s or future car engines. • Bioethanol can be produced from several crops. Large amounts of bioethanol are already produced and used in Brazil (sugar cane) and USA (mainly maize). In Europe, bioethanol is produced

mostly from cereals and to a lesser extent from sugar beet. There are currently seven large scale plants in Europe that produce bioethanol having a total demand for about 4 mio. tonnes of cereal. However, it is expected that bioethanol production will increase significantly in the EU. In the coming years, several new plants are planned, and they will require about 7 mio. tonnes of cereal in 2008. Best-case scenarios for bioethanol production foresee a demand of about 32 mio. tonnes of cereal in 2010. However, the equivalent amount of 10.7 mio. tonnes of bioethanol would still be lower than the 13 mio. tonnes required to achieve the EU target on liquid biofuels in the transport sector (5.75% share of total fuel consumption). The remaining amount must come from sugar beet-based ethanol production and from imports of bioethanol. The Sugar Reform may improve the competitiveness of sugar beet for bioethanol production, but because sugar beet production is limited to the most productive regions, their contribution to the total bioethanol market will be minor. • Generally, the kind of crop grown for bioethanol production determines very much the overall energy efficiency of the whole process. Highest energy efficiency can be achieved with crops that are high in biomass yield and high in sugar content, such as sugar cane. Other crops such as cereals


PRODUCING BIOENERGY AND MAKING THE BEST OF EUROPEAN LAND

(wheat, maize etc.) contain mainly starch that needs to be converted to sugar before bioethanol can be produced. This additional step requires an additional energy input that decreases the overall energy balance. However, experts assume that technological progress will increase the efficiency of the conversion processes in the future. Another important factor that influences the energy efficiency are the assumptions made for the energy requirement of farm inputs (e.g. the energy consumption in mineral fertilizer production). Furthermore, it is important whether by-products of the bioethanol process are considered or not, and also how they are considered (e.g. as energy credits if recycled as fodder). However, the large quantity of by-products at the bioethanol production facility requires extra logistical efforts.

• Vegetable oil and biodiesel, produced from oil seed crops, is an existing option for farmers because: - both fuels can be used in conventional diesel engines; - distribution over the existing petrol station network is possible (biodiesel is already available at petrol stations); - of their low price for consumers (tax-free or reduced tax); - it can be easily produced on farm or on co-op level (vegetable oil); - the investment costs for the equipment are low (vegetable oil).

• However, the production of oil seed rape for biodiesel can hardly be further extended in the EU because of trade agreement constraints (the Blair House agreement which limits oil seed production on set-aside land to that amount of production which would yield 1 mio. tonnes of soybean meal equivalent) and rotational and climatic constraints. Hence it is expected that a considerable part of the biodiesel feedstock will consist of imported soybean or palm oil. Furthermore increasing imports of raw material (oil seeds) is foreseen for the coming years.

• Generally, bioethanol can be mixed with fuels in car engines or can be used as a fuel replacement in special engines (“flex-fuel” cars).

9


POSITIVE ENERGY AND CO 2 BALANCE OF BIOMASS The energy balance of the biomass production in agriculture is positive (EFMA, 2002). The energy output in form of the harvested biomass is higher than the energy required to produce the biomass. Energy inputs are connected to almost all steps of arable production, e.g. for the use of machinery on the field, for drying the harvested product, for the production of farm inputs such as fertilizers and seeds. However, the energy output depends on the crop grown (figure 6). The industrial process necessary to produce biofuels out of this biomass still requires more fossil energy compared to the production process used to produce the equivalent amount of energy with fossil fuels. However, if the complete life cycle is considered (figure 7), it requires half as much fossil energy to produce bioethanol compared to producing gas, and a third as much fossil energy is required for the production of biodiesel compared to the production of gas oil.

Figure 6: Positive energy balance of arable production. Example: wheat, oil seed rape and sugar beet production in Germany ������ ��� ��� ��� ���

�������������

��� �� �� �� �

������������

���

�����

�������������

����������

�������� ���������

�������� ��������

����������������������������������� ������������������������������������������

��������������������������

Figure 7: Total fossil energy required to produce fuels Useable energy Fossil energy used in the production process

1,2 1,0 0,8

toe

ENERGY BALANCE

0,6 0,4 0,2 0,0

Gas

Bioethanol

Gas oil

Type of fuel toe = tonne of oil equivalent Source: PriceWaterHouseCoopers 2002, for French Ministry of Environment

10

Biodiesel


PRODUCING BIOENERGY AND MAKING THE BEST OF EUROPEAN LAND

PRODUCTION IN EUROPE CO2 BALANCE The CO2 balance of the crop production is positive. When crops use solar energy to produce biomass (photosynthesis), they capture atmospheric CO2 as their main source for carbon. Taking the same examples of wheat, oil seed rape and sugar beet production as in figure 6, it can be observed that the amount of CO2 which is captured is much higher than the volume of CO2 and other Greenhouse Gases (N2O) emitted when producing the crop (figure 8). Biomass is almost neutral of Greenhouse Gas emissions when used for energy purposes. If it is used to replace fossil fuels, the reserves of the fossil fuels last longer and “fossil” CO2 emissions are avoided (figure 9). Using biomass therefore contributes to a net saving of CO2.

Figure 8: Positive CO2 balance of crop production. Example: wheat, oil seed rape and sugar beet production in Germany ���������� �� �� ��

������������

�� � � ��

������������� ����������

�����

�������������

����������

��������

��������

�����������������������������������

��������������������������

Figure 9: When biomass is burned it replaces fossil fuels and avoids CO2 emissions. �������������������������������� ����������������������������� ��������������� �����������

������������� �������������� ������������� �������

�������������������� ��������������

��������������� ��

��

���������������

��������������

�������������� ���������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������������� �����������������������������������������������

11


MINERAL FERTILIZERS CONTRIBUTE TO MEETING THE ENERGY CONSUMPTION IN THE NITROGEN FERTILIZER CHAIN:

Figure 10: Energy consumption in the nitrogen fertilizer chain.

Most of the energy used in the fertilizer chain is required to produce mineral fertilizers (figure 10), and it is therefore in this area that technologies have been developed to ensure that fertilizer manufacturing processes are as efficient as possible.

Production* (40)

The energy efficiency in N fertilizer production has been significantly improved during the 20th century. Modern fertilizer factories are close to the theoretical minimum of energy consumption when producing ammonia, which is the first step in the production of nitrogen fertilizer (figure 11).

Transport** (1)

Values in Giga Joule (GJ)/ tonne of N * inclusive energy used for the extraction and transport of fossil fuels to the N fertilizer factory (average value for all N fertilizers) ** transport of N fertilizer over a distance of 400km by ship and truck (1GJ=25 litres oil)

Modern application techniques can help to reduce the amount of energy used by adapting the quantity of fertilizer and the number of applications to the

������ ���

�������������� �������������������

��� ��� ���

���������������

��� ���

���������������������

��� ��

��������������� �����������

�������������������

���� �����������������������

12

����

����

����

crop’s need. Grain yield increases as more mineral fertilizer is applied. However, there is an economic optimum of the nitrogen fertilizer rate (figure 12).

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BIOETHANOL PRODUCTION:

Figure 11: Evolution of ammonia production efficiency. ���

Spreading (3)

����

����

���� ����

All available set-aside land in the EU would not be sufficient to meet the ambitious EU targets for bioenergy. For example, to achieve the 5.75% market share of biofuels in the total fuel market in Europe, 25 mio. tonnes of biofuels (12 mio. tonnes biodiesel and 13 mio. tonnes bioethanol) produced on around 15 mio. ha of land would be required (European Commission, DG TREN, 2005). Since this area is not likely to be available, it is important to maximise the production efficiency by using Good Agricultural Practices. This includes the application of optimum fertilizer rates. Fertilizers enable the crops to grow to their maximum potential and


PRODUCING BIOENERGY AND MAKING THE BEST OF EUROPEAN LAND

EU TARGETS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY thus to fix additional solar energy and CO2 from the atmosphere. Figure 13 shows an example of the energy efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer based on data from field trials in Germany. In these trials, when using 170 kg N fertilizer on a ha of land, the winter wheat yield was 8.2 tonnes compared with 4.7 tonnes without N fertilizer. These 8.2 tonnes equate to 126 GJ of solar energy captured in the form of biomass when nitrogen is applied, compared with only 71 GJ without N fertilizer. The extra 55 GJ captured when using N fertilizers is more than 6 times the 8 GJ used to produce, transport and spread the fertilizers.

Figure 12: Efficient energy use is a central issue on farms. ���������������������� �� � � � � � �

���������������� ����������������� �������������

� � � �

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BIODIESEL PRODUCTION: The biomass-bound energy needs to be transformed into a usable form of energy, such as heat or liquid biofuels. This transformation, however, is not 100% efficient. For example, one tonne of oil seed rape contains 24 GJ of total energy (primary energy), and the amount of energy in the form of biodiesel that can be produced from 1 tonne of oil seed rape is lower than the total energy content. About 380 litres of biodiesel can be produced from one tonne of oil seed rape. One litre biodiesel contains 32.7 MJ of energy. Hence 1 tonne of oil seed rape allows for the production of 12.4 GJ of energy in the form of 380 litres of biodiesel.

��

��

���

���

�������������������������������������������

��� ��� ������������������������

Figure 13: Fertilizers greatly increase the positive energy balance of arable production ����� ���

������������������������� ���������������������� ���������������������

��� ���

���

�� �� ��

���

��������������� ���������������� ����������������������

���

�� � ���

����

������ ��� ���� ��� ����

����������������������������� ������������������������

���� ��

����������� ���� ������ ����� ������

������������������ �������������������� �������������������������� ������������������������

�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������

13


Figure 14: N fertilizer inputs increase the energy efficiency of biodiesel production ����� �� �� �� ��

�����

��������������������� �������������������������� ��������������������������� ���������������������

�����

��������������������� �����������������������

�� �� �� �

����� ��

��� ���

������ ���� ��� ���� ��������������������������������������������������

����������� ����� ����� �����

Again the use of mineral fertilizer increases the energy efficiency of biodiesel production. Figure 14 shows results from a field trial growing oil seed rape in Germany. The figure shows the negative values for energy input (10 GJ/ha for production, transport and application of N fertilizer and 7 GJ/ha for all other activities, e.g. tractor use). The positive values give the energy output in terms of biodiesel that can be produced from the harvested oil seed rape: crops grown without N fertilizer produce 27.7 GJ/ha, compared to crops grown with N fertilizer which produce an additional 39.2 GJ/ha. At optimum N supply (around 220 kg N/ha) the ratio between total energy input and “biodiesel-energy” output is about 1:4, i.e. fertilizers help to produce

14

������������������������������ ����������������������

��� ���

�������������������������� ����������������������������� ���������������������������

4 times more “biodiesel-energy” than is required to produce, transport and apply the fertilizers. An extra energy input of 10 GJ/ha for N fertilizer results in an additional biodiesel production of 39.2 GJ/ha.


PRODUCING BIOENERGY AND MAKING THE BEST OF EUROPEAN LAND

CONCLUSIONS • The energy and CO2 balance of arable production is positive. • If arable crops are used for energy purposes, fossil fuel reserves will last longer and CO2 emissions from fossil carbon are reduced. • Considering the current prices for fossil energy, it is sometimes more attractive to use crops for energy purposes rather than for food production. • Although biomass will have an important role in future energy provision, its use will be restricted by: - limitations of available land and water; - rotational and trade agreement constraints (e.g. max. 30% oil seed rape in rotation; Blair House agreement). • Hence, to achieve the targets on bioenergy: - all available land should be used to produce energy crops (in Europe, set-aside is 4 mio. of ha); - imports of biofuels and raw material (e.g. oil seeds) need to be increased; - the production efficiency on the available land must be optimised by using mineral fertilizers.

• Mineral fertilizers enable the crops to grow to their maximum potential and thus to fix additional solar energy and CO2 from the atmosphere: - e.g. when cereals are grown on field, the extra 55 GJ captured in form of the additional biomass produced when using N fertilizers are more than 6 times the energy required to produce, transport and spread the fertilizers.

15


Avenue E. van Nieuwenhuyse, 4 - B-1160 Brussels - Belgium - Tel: +32 2 675 35 50 - Fax: +32 2 675 39 61 - E-mail: main@efma.be - Website: www.efma.org european

fertilizer

manufacturers

association


Efmaenergy2006