|What is the most effective way of delivering a particular bioenergy outcome in the UK, taking into account the available biomass resources, the geography of the UK, time, technology options and logistics networks?
Biomass must play a significant role in the future energy mix if the UK is to meet its GHG emissions targets cost-effectively. BVCM is a comprehensive and flexible toolkit used to understand the most effective routes from biomass to energy accounting for all end-to-end elements in the pathways: land use, biomass production (including arable crops, energy crops and forestry); imports, conversion, transport, storage, purchase, sale and disposal of resources; CCS technologies and utilisation of waste resources. The most effective route depends on the resource and technology data, combined with the objective function chosen and the constraints imposed on the system.
To the ETI’s knowledge, BVCM is the most comprehensive and flexible model for whole system optimisation of bioenergy value chains to be produced to date. It currently contains 82 different resources comprising bio-resources, wastes, intermediates, final energy vectors and co-products. There are 61 distinct technologies, at different scales with multiple modes (more than 1200 combinations in total), including: pretreatment and densification; gaseous fuel production; liquid fuel production; heat, power and combined heat and power generation; waste-to-energy; and carbon capture technologies.
Since BVCM is data-driven, it can easily be extended to include other resources or technologies by adding to the database, or modified to analyse alternative assumptions. It could also be applied to other countries simply by providing different data sets for the available land areas, yield potentials (and impacts), waste potentials and so on.
The BVCM toolkit enables us to assess the sensitivities of the system to different parameters, drawing on the best available data. The ETI is using the BVCM toolkit to help determine the role that biomass should play in achieving the UK’s energy and GHG emissions targets in 2050.