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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Agricultural residues for energy - A case study on the influence of resource availability, economy and policy on the use of straw for energy in Denmark and Sweden

Bentsen, Niclas Scott; Nilsson, Daniel; Larsen, Soren


Denmark and Sweden have an annual cultivation of straw-producing crops on about 16,000 and 11,000 km(2) respectively. However, the actual use of straw for energy differs considerably: 1.35 Tg y(-1) in Denmark and 0.11 Tg y-1 in Sweden. The main objective of this study was to investigate why the use of straw for energy is much larger in Denmark than in Sweden. Differences and commonalities in the conditions for the production and use of straw were reviewed. It was shown that both countries have used a large number of governmental support programmes, as well as monetary instruments (e.g. CO2-taxes), to promote the use of bioenergy in general. In contrast to Denmark, however, there have been no specific governmental incentives in Sweden directed at increasing the use of straw for energy. One reason may be the vast and relatively low-cost resources of forest biomass in relation to the available resources of straw. The price of competing fuels such as wood chips and wood pellets has generally been 5-15% higher in Denmark than in Sweden. More in depth regional analyses for eastern Denmark and Scania in south Sweden showed that straw production costs are somewhat lower in eastern Denmark as a result of shorter transport distances, earlier ripening of straw-producing crops and better weather conditions during harvest. At present, expert knowledge and the existence of a mature industry favour the large-scale production and use of straw in Denmark.


Cereal straw; Bioenergy; Heat and power production; Policy framework; Production costs

Published in

Biomass and Bioenergy
2018, Volume: 108, pages: 278-288

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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