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Greenhouse gas emission reduction potential and cost of bioenergy in British Columbia, Canada


  • Wang, Haoqi
  • Zhang, Siduo
  • Bi, Xiaotao
  • Clift, Roland


The Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) provides an informative case study of bioenergy development, because it relies heavily on fossil fuels but has enormous bioenergy potential. We have examined the potential contribution of bioenergy to reducing BC's GHG emissions. The approach of combining life cycle assessment and economic evaluation to prioritize options should be applicable generally. Biomass availability, including forestry resources, agricultural waste and municipal solid waste, is estimated. Through simplified Life Cycle Assessment, GHG reduction potential of biogas, bioethanol, biofuels from hydrothermal liquefaction, and district heating are quantified, along with the associated GHG reduction costs. The analysis shows that existing biomass resources could yield 110–176 PJ per year, reducing GHG emissions by 13.0–15.7%. Bioenergy from waste streams is already cost-effective and should be prioritized in the short term. However, bioenergy from forestry resources, especially conversion to liquid biofuels, is prohibitively expensive, with GHG reduction cost exceeding CAD $300/t CO2-eq. The total extra cost required to achieve full utilization of BC's biomass resources is estimated as 0.8–2.4 billion dollars. To close the cost gaps between bioenergy and fossil fuels, both technological improvement and external cost adjustment through measures like carbon taxation will be needed.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Haoqi & Zhang, Siduo & Bi, Xiaotao & Clift, Roland, 2020. "Greenhouse gas emission reduction potential and cost of bioenergy in British Columbia, Canada," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:138:y:2020:i:c:s0301421520300446
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111285

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mosayeb Dashtpeyma & Reza Ghodsi, 2021. "Forest Biomass and Bioenergy Supply Chain Resilience: A Systematic Literature Review on the Barriers and Enablers," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(12), pages 1-21, June.
    2. Aikaterini Konti & Dimitris Kekos & Diomi Mamma, 2020. "Life Cycle Analysis of the Bioethanol Production from Food Waste—A Review," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(19), pages 1-14, October.
    3. Alexandra Pehlken & Kalle Wulf & Kevin Grecksch & Thomas Klenke & Nina Tsydenova, 2020. "More Sustainable Bioenergy by Making Use of Regional Alternative Biomass?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(19), pages 1-22, September.
    4. Wang, H. & Bi, X. & Clift, R., 2021. "Utilization of forestry waste materials in British Columbia: Options and strategies," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).

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