Biogas between renewable energy and bio-economy policies—opportunities and constraints resulting from a dual role
SourceEnergy, Sustainability and Society, 7, 1, (2017), pp. 1-15, article 17
Article / Letter to editor
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Philosophy and Science Studies
Department for Sustainable Management of Resources
Energy, Sustainability and Society
SubjectDepartment of Sustainable Management of Resources; Institute for Management Research; Philosophy and Science Studies
BACKGROUND - Biogas plays a major role in two policy domains: the renewable energy domain and the bio-economy domain. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of current biogas practices with the two policy domains and to identify how biogas can contribute to both. METHODS - The paper is based on an analysis of views and ideas gained in a large European project addressing different aspects of biogas production and application, gathered through interviews with a variety of stakeholders involved in the project. RESULTS - Current practice shows opportunities for biogas to contribute to both domains. Biogas production is an efficient way of using especially residual biomass and can provide multiple products for both policy domains. Biogas can function as a system service provider in the renewable energy domain, and various products of the biogas production chain can serve as input for bio-based products. However, the diverging goals of the two policy domains and associated instruments currently hinder the development of innovative connections between them. CONCLUSIONS - The focus on biogas for energy as single main product should be diversified towards creating multiple products and using biogas optimally through innovative solutions. To maximize the contribution to both policy goals, policy makers should jointly aim at optimal use of biomass for multiple goals. Policies should aim at improving the competitive position of biomass-based products over fossil-based products and optimizing the use of biomass resources, rather than inciting competition between the different biomass applications.
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