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Comparing the life cycle costs of using harvest residue as feedstock for small- and large-scale bioenergy systems (part II)


  • Cleary, Julian
  • Wolf, Derek P.
  • Caspersen, John P.


In part II of our two-part study, we estimate the nominal electricity generation and GHG (greenhouse gas) mitigation costs of using harvest residue from a hardwood forest in Ontario, Canada to fuel (1) a small-scale (250 kWe) combined heat and power wood chip gasification unit and (2) a large-scale (211 MWe) coal-fired generating station retrofitted to combust wood pellets. Under favorable operational and regulatory conditions, generation costs are similar: 14.1 and 14.9 cents per kWh (c/kWh) for the small- and large-scale facilities, respectively. However, GHG mitigation costs are considerably higher for the large-scale system: $159/tonne of CO2 eq., compared to $111 for the small-scale counterpart. Generation costs increase substantially under existing conditions, reaching: (1) 25.5 c/kWh for the small-scale system, due to a regulation mandating the continual presence of an operating engineer; and (2) 22.5 c/kWh for the large-scale system due to insufficient biomass supply, which reduces plant capacity factor from 34% to 8%. Limited inflation adjustment (50%) of feed-in tariff rates boosts these costs by 7% to 11%. Results indicate that policy generalizations based on scale require careful consideration of the range of operational/regulatory conditions in the jurisdiction of interest. Further, if GHG mitigation is prioritized, small-scale systems may be more cost-effective.

Suggested Citation

  • Cleary, Julian & Wolf, Derek P. & Caspersen, John P., 2015. "Comparing the life cycle costs of using harvest residue as feedstock for small- and large-scale bioenergy systems (part II)," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 539-547.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:86:y:2015:i:c:p:539-547
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Danon, Gradimir & Furtula, Mladen & Mandić, Marija, 2012. "Possibilities of implementation of CHP (combined heat and power) in the wood industry in Serbia," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 169-176.
    2. Johanna Routa & Antti Asikainen & Rolf Björheden & Juha Laitila & Dominik Röser, 2013. "Forest energy procurement: state of the art in Finland and Sweden," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(6), pages 602-613, November.
    3. Taljan, Gregor & Verbič, Gregor & Pantoš, Miloš & Sakulin, Manfred & Fickert, Lothar, 2012. "Optimal sizing of biomass-fired Organic Rankine Cycle CHP system with heat storage," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 29-38.
    4. Moore, Steven & Durant, Vincent & Mabee, Warren E., 2013. "Determining appropriate feed-in tariff rates to promote biomass-to-electricity generation in Eastern Ontario, Canada," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 607-613.
    5. Mabee, Warren E. & Mannion, Justine & Carpenter, Tom, 2012. "Comparing the feed-in tariff incentives for renewable electricity in Ontario and Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 480-489.
    6. Marbe, Å & Harvey, S & Berntsson, T, 2004. "Biofuel gasification combined heat and power—new implementation opportunities resulting from combined supply of process steam and district heating," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1117-1137.
    7. Gan, Jianbang, 2007. "Supply of biomass, bioenergy, and carbon mitigation: Method and application," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 6003-6009, December.
    8. Adams, P.W. & Hammond, G.P. & McManus, M.C. & Mezzullo, W.G., 2011. "Barriers to and drivers for UK bioenergy development," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 1217-1227, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guizani, Chamseddine & Haddad, Khouloud & Jeguirim, Mejdi & Colin, Baptiste & Limousy, Lionel, 2016. "Combustion characteristics and kinetics of torrefied olive pomace," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 453-463.
    2. repec:eee:rensus:v:77:y:2017:i:c:p:59-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Cleary, Julian & Caspersen, John P., 2015. "Comparing the life cycle impacts of using harvest residue as feedstock for small- and large-scale bioenergy systems (part I)," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 917-926.
    4. repec:eee:renene:v:125:y:2018:i:c:p:373-383 is not listed on IDEAS


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