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Doctoral thesis, 2011

Adoption of bioenergy technologies for a sustainable energy system

Bjørnstad, Even


A future sustainable energy system must achieve great improvements in energy efficiency and the energy supply must be based on renewable energy sources. Bioenergy will be an important part of this system. Changing from the current fossil-dependent energy system to a truly sustainable energy system will require fundamental changes in basic structures of society, in the technologies we utilize in the living of our lives and in the way we as citizens and consumers behave relative to energy use. Radical innovations along multiple dimensions are needed to achieve this change. In this thesis the focus is on the role of bioenergy technologies in this system. Specifically, the diffusion of bioenergy based heating technologies is analyzed in four separate research papers. Empirical analyses are based on data from relevant markets in Norway and Sweden. In Paper I, the supply curve of the potential forest fuel supply of a Norwegian county is analyzed, based on an engineering economics approach. Can differences in cost structure in forestry explain why Norway is lagging behind Sweden in terms of bioenergy use? The answer is that there is no lack of low-cost supply of forest fuel raw material in Norway to explain this difference. Paper II takes a forest owner's view and assesses effects on the optimal timing of the harvesting of the forest, when two important additions to the classical Faustmann model are assumed. The market value of the biomass in the tops and branches (harvesting residues) and the value of carbon fixed in the living trees are added to the value of the stem (timber). The value of wood residues shorten the optimal rotation length, while the carbon storage value of the tree lengthens it. The optimal rotation length is very sensitive to the relative size of these two added value components. In Paper III, the initial phase of the development of biomass use in the Swedish district heating sector is scrutinized. A central conclusion is the importance of long term and stable policy signals and the development of an innovation system around this sector. The last article, Paper IV, takes a look at the effects of the Norwegian Household Subsidy Programme for new heating technologies, including pellet stoves. It shows that households put relatively little weight on purely economic factors in assessing the success of their investment in such technologies.


biofuels; heating; energy generation; economic analysis; carbon cycle; technology transfer; value systems; sustainability; norway; sweden

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2011, number: 2011:39
ISBN: 978-91-576-7501-9
Publisher: Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    SLU Authors

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Renewable Bioenergy Research

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