Life cycle assessment of climate impact of Fischer-Tropsch diesel based on peat and biomass

By combining biomass gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis it is possible to produce biodiesel. Vapo is investigating the possibilities for a plant where a mixture of different biomass fractions and peat would be used as raw material. In this study the climate impact of such synthetic diesel is calculated in terms of radiative forcing. The calculations show that the following parameters have large impact on the results: ' the emission factors associated with external power demand (purchased electricity) ' the use of carbon capture and storage ' the time perspective used in the analysis ' the raw material mix (amount of peat vs. amount of forest residues) ' the reference scenario for the peat production (type of peatland) All the FT-diesel scenarios with a peat input of 90% will have higher climate impact than fossil diesel after 100 years, except when CCS is applied and Swedish electricity mix is assumed for the external power demand. In order to have lower climate impact than conventional diesel after 100 years, the peat input must be significantly lower than the biomass input. Substantial reductions of the climate impact can be achieved by applying CCS. With CCS, all peat based FT-diesel scenarios (except the ones based on 90% peat) result in lower climate impact than fossil diesel after both 100 and 300 years. For scenarios with marginal electricity, the reductions are 50-84% after 100 years compared to conventional diesel. For scenarios with Swedish electricity mix the reductions are 100-135% (i.e. zero or negative radiative forcing). The scenarios in this study are based on the assumption that the biodiesel refinery is located close to a harbour so that transportation of captured CO2 to a storage site can be made by ship. An inland location would require truck transport or pipelines and the cost, infrastructure and logistics for this might not be feasible.

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Last updated: 2021-05-05

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