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Economics of Biomass Co-Firing in New Hard Coal Power Plants in Germany

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  • Lüschen, Andreas

    () (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Madlener, Reinhard

    () (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN))

Abstract

Biomass cofiring in coal power plants (with shares of typically 5-20%th) is an interesting option to mitigate CO2 emissions, since the additional costs are relatively minor and a secondary benefit is provided by the increased fuel flexibility. Worldwide, about 150 cofiring plants are in operation. In Germany, the potential for biomass cofiring in coal plants is about 28 TWhel per annum, assuming a 10% replacement of coal combustion by biomass. In this paper, we study the economic potential of biomass cofiring in hard coal power plants in Germany. To this end, we identify suitable biomass input fuels, investment and operating costs, and profitability of cofiring investments. In a sensitivity analysis, we check for the robustness of the results gained, and in a Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) uncertainties are explicitly taken into account. We find that both regional and international biomass supplies are relevant, and that the cost effectiveness of cofiring is strongly affected by prices for biomass, coal and CO2 permits, while investment and operating costs only have a modest influence. According to our calculations, power generation costs attributable to biomass combustion for a plant put into operation in 2020 are between 70-75 € MWhel-1, while the average costs of biomass fuel from various sources and markets are calculated to be around 4.1 € GJ-1.

Suggested Citation

  • Lüschen, Andreas & Madlener, Reinhard, 2010. "Economics of Biomass Co-Firing in New Hard Coal Power Plants in Germany," FCN Working Papers 23/2010, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:fcnwpa:2010_023
    Note: Revised July 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lintunen, Jussi & Kangas, Hanna-Liisa, 2010. "The case of co-firing: The market level effects of subsidizing biomass co-combustion," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 694-701, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dergiades, Theologos & Madlener, Reinhard & Christofidou, Georgia, 2012. "The Nexus between Natural Gas Spot and Futures Prices at NYMEX: Do Weather Shocks and Non-Linear Causality in Low Frequencies Matter?," FCN Working Papers 17/2012, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Sep 2013.
    2. Achtnicht, Martin, 2010. "Do environmental benefits matter? A choice experiment among house owners in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-094, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Rohlfs, Wilko & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Multi-Commodity Real Options Analysis of Power Plant Investments: Discounting Endogenous Risk Structures," FCN Working Papers 22/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    4. Bernstein, Ronald & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Responsiveness of Residential Electricity Demand in OECD Countries: A Panel Cointegation and Causality Analysis," FCN Working Papers 8/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    5. Sorda, Giovanni & Sunak, Yasin & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "A Spatial MAS Simulation to Evaluate the Promotion of Electricity from Agricultural Biogas Plants in Germany," FCN Working Papers 1/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Oct 2012.
    6. Kraas, Birk & Schroedter-Homscheidt, Marion & Pulvermüller, Benedikt & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Economic Assessment of a Concentrating Solar Power Forecasting System for Participation in the Spanish Electricity Market," FCN Working Papers 12/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    7. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Homeowners' Preferences for Adopting Residential Heating Systems: A Discrete Choice Analysis for Germany," FCN Working Papers 9/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).

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