Optimised scenario for reduction of biomass for electricity and district heating

Denmark | March 2021 - September 2021

Since the 1990ies, a large part of the Danish electricity and heat production has been transitioned away from coal, especially to biomass and natural gas. In recent years, the continued considerable use of biomass has been questioned, amongst other things driven by the realisation that biomass firing, seen over a timespan of 30 years, leads to a loss of carbon in the biogenic carbon pool, and thereby a net carbon emission into the atmosphere.

On that basis, CONCITO (green think tank) has requested an analysis of the optimal use of biomass in the Danish electricity and district heat sector towards 2030 and 2040.

In the analysis a carbon emission factor is calculated for the average forest biomass of 35 kg CO2/GJ, and for straw of 15 kg CO2/GJ. The analysis shows that if this emission factor is used in a socioeconomic prioritisation in the energy field, then the usage of biomass for electricity and heat production should be significantly reduced towards 2030 and 2040.

The project ran from March to September 2021. The report (in Danish) can be downloaded on this page, along with an English translation of selected parts and a handout from a talk given on the subject in March 2022.