The role of 2 nd generation biofuels in tackling climate change with a positive social and economic dimension

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1 The role of 2 nd generation biofuels in tackling climate change with a positive social and economic dimension Dr. Mairi J. Black Conference on Advanced Biofuels and Bioeconomy 2 nd December 2016, Canning House, London

2 Outline Feedstock-Conversion options Feedstock Availability Tackling Climate Change Sustainability

3 Feedstock-Conversion Options Multiple feedstocks and conversion pathways possible for biofuels and bioproducts Various descriptions and terminologies used to describe biofuels 1 st Generation (1G) or conventional biofuels are derived from commodity crops with easily extractable sugars, starches and oils which are easily processed into bioethanol and biodiesel 2 nd Generation (2G) or advanced biofuels are derived from cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignocelluloses etc of plant biomass. Feedstocks can be crop residues, forestry feedstock (residues or dedicated crops) or purpose grown non-food crops. Moving away from 1 st Generation biofuels which rely on and potentially compete with food uses Technologies and economics for production of 2 nd Generation biofuels are improving

4 Feedstock Opportunities Lignocellulosic Crops e.g. forestry spp. e.g. pine; spruce, eucalyptus, miscanthus, switchgrass, willow e.g. sugarcane sugar beet Commodity (Food) Crops e.g. barley, cassava, maize, potato, wheat e.g. oilseed rape (canola), palm, soy lignocellulosic / undifferentiated biomass Thermal / Thermochemical conversion Combustion Pyrolysis synoil Gasification syngas proteins co-products and residues Lignin Hexose C6 monomeric sugar Pentose C5 monomeric sugar sugars starches oils Chemical / Biochemical conversion Acid hydrolysis Enzymatic hydrolysis Methyl esterification Energy Fischer-Tropsch Fermentation Food and Feed Platform chemicals Hydrocarbons Biodiesel Bioethanol Biobutanol Biochemicals

5 Feedstock Availability - UK 16 million tonnes of biomass - based on crop and forest residues; dedicated biomass crops; green waste and waste from paper industry (NNFCC report, 2014) ( Agricultural residues e.g. wheat, barley, oats, oilseed rape straw Options for agri-residues e.g. straw from cereals and oilseed rape - approx. 25% of total UK biomass (3-4 millions tonnes) Already have value to farmers as animal bedding and organic matter for soil Volumes available are weather dependant on an annual basis (i.e. poor growth years or farmers decide not to remove straw from field in wet years) Limited transport range to end user due to straw density (pelletisation may not justify cost) *All photographs obtained from

6 Feedstock Availability - UK Energy Crops Several years of research studies into options for energy crops grown in the UK Perennial nature of energy crops requires farmer commitment to planting - UK Energy Crops Scheme supported farmers (closed August 2013) e.g. Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow, poplar; Perennial rhizomatous grasses miscanthus, switchgrass, reed canary grass Forestry - Residues opportunities for plantation forest residues (brash) and sawmill residues opportunities for hardwood forests brought back into active management selective harvesting /deadwood/storm damage Competition with existing industries (pulp and paper; particle board etc) *All photographs obtained from

7 Feedstock Availability - Global Global agricultural residues e.g. straws, maize stover, sugarcane bagasse, oil palm residue, seed husks - low density bulky materials limitations to transport distances, technical challenges associated with pelleting Global energy crops e.g. eucalyptus, acacia and other short rotation forestry species; miscanthus, switchgrass, energy cane, bamboo better yield potential in warmer climates

8 Feedstock Availability - Global Global forestry and sawmill residues huge potential estimates but depends on the demands and requirements of several industries, the promotion of particular uses by country national policies and land availability for growing The sustainability of forests, forest management and land use are on-going discussions requiring consensus by a large stakeholder groups Implementation and traceability of sustainability in forestry supply chains is an on-going challenge which incurs increased costs for certification and verification

9 Feedstock Availability - Large variation seen in global estimates as the result of modelling criteria - Often assessed differently e.g. theoretical; technical; economic; and realistic Summary of global biomass potential (EJ), from UKERC report (2011) High: Upper-Mid: Low-Mid: Low: 600EJ plus EJ (slightly more than current global primary energy) EJ (~ half of current global primary energy) ~100EJ (one fifth of current global primary energy) Considering land use, yield potential, population and diet, biomass resource type (residues / dedicated crops) UKERC report, 2011: Energy from biomass: the size of the global resource

10 Feedstock Availability based on biomass (production) potential UKERC report, 2011: Energy from biomass: the size of the global resource

11 Tackling Climate Change - Policies European Union Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) - 20% of total energy needs should come from renewables by 2020 (at least 10% from transport fuels) - contribution of biofuels from food crops capped at 7% with indicative 0.5% sub-target from advanced biofuels - all EU countries have developed a National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) detailing action to meet target (addressing sectorial targets and technology mix). e.g. UK Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) UK Renewables Obligation (ROO) 2009 and (Amendment) 2014 UK Renewable Heat Incentive (2011) and (Amendment) 2013; 2014; 2015 Non-Domestic (2011) and Domestic (2014) RHIs. Policy design (caps and targets), incentives and sustainability requirements strongly influence the opportunities for biofuels

12 Benefits of Biofuels Biofuels generally have been promoted by many countries with differing emphasis on benefits - Reducing GHG emissions compared with fossil fuels - Improving energy security, moving away from imported fossil fuels - Economic development and employment opportunities - Providing alternative markets for farmers and forestry - Opportunities for protecting/improving environment 2 nd Generation biofuel benefits - Feedstock provide use for waste materials - Wider opportunities for planting (lower grade lands less productive for food) - Higher productivity, more efficient use of land - Less inputs required - Better GHG reduction

13 Sustainability Issues The 3 pillars of Sustainability are Social, Environmental and Economic considerations for a given product, supply chain or industry. With biofuels, there has been much contention as to the sustainability of biomass for particular uses and debate continues about biomass/biofuel opportunities: - Life Cycle Assessment of GHG emissions assumes biomass is carbon neutral. The temporal aspect of GHG emissions for perennial biomass crops (i.e. time for emitted CO 2 to be re-absorbed by biomass re-growth) is not accounted for in policy - Direct and indirect land use change (e.g. deforestation, conversion of natural forest to plantation forests or cropland; access to land and resources) - Loss of biodiversity - Impact on water dynamics and water accessibility - Loss of soil quality / productivity - Food vs. Fuel (in this case loss of food crop land to energy crops)

14 Sustainability Issues Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development: Since September 25 th 2015, when 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the UN, the role of biofuels and the bioeconomy may be framed around these:

15 Moving Forward The Bio-industry, associated stakeholders and academic institutes continue collaborating to develop methods for calculation and demonstration of sustainability - Improving data availability and quality for GHG emissions (Global Warming Potential) calculations for products and supply chains - Long-term assessment of impacts of developing industries (reliance on models can only take us so far) - Expanding role of quantitative methodologies (Life Cycle Impact Assessment) to define wider environmental impacts (e.g. climate change, ozone depletion, human and ecotoxicity, acidification, eutrophication (land and aquatic), land use and resource depletion - Development of practical means for industry to address complex sustainability issues e.g. Forest Certification and traceability of feedstock (Chain of Custody)