Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Book chapters
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-16193-8_10
Title (Primary) Conclusion and outlook
Title (Secondary) Smart bioenergy : technologies and concepts for a more flexible bioenergy provision in future energy systems
Author Thrän, D.
Publisher Thrän, D.
Year 2015
Page From 161
Page To 177
Language englisch
Keywords Smart bioenergy; Bioenergy technologies; Bioeconomy; Flexible bioenergy provision; Advanced biofuels
UFZ wide themes RU6;
Abstract In a nutshell, smart bioenergy can be described as the process of optimizing individual technologies and plants to an optimized contribution of bioenergy technologies to the overall energy system and infrastructure with the benefit of providing additional services from bioenergy. The focus of this book is on the conceptual approaches and the technical potential for developing different biomass provision routes towards more flexibility. This requires conversion plants with units that can be controlled with precision and well adapted to short reaction times, with a partial load function of the conversion process and additional storage facilities.

Power provision from biomass is one application, where increasing flexibility can be expected in Germany over the next 5 years when electricity from wind and photovoltaic will become more important. Due to the specific frame conditions of power provision, the demand for flexibility in this sector is expected to be very challenging, requiring reaction times of only a few minutes to provide positive or even negative energy to balance grid stability. Beside the specific German case, flexible power to increase the grid stability can be necessary due to different reasons and is required in many countries of the world. Highly flexible heat provision in small scale combustion units is not so much an issue at the moment, but is expected prospectively to be due to an increasing supply of heat from solar systems and/or heat from excess energy from wind and photovoltaic (power to heat). Fuels for transportation are also expected to change in the years to come. Furthermore, the increased availability of fluctuating wind and solar power will provide excess energy during certain periods. Basically speaking, the excess electrical energy can be converted into thermal or chemical energy and meet some of the demand for heat or fuel consumption. As a result, some of the flexibility needs can be shifted between the different sectors. To enable technologies to fulfil the additional demands for smaller and more flexible bioenergy provision, the availability of advanced intermediates is a core issue. This includes further development and market implementation of advanced solid biofuels as well as biomethane.

Challenges on the road to becoming more flexible do not only occur from the technical options and limitations but also from the elements of the supply chain, including sustainable feedstock provision, the implementation of flexible conversion concepts and the demand from the renewable energy market. With regard to the holistic system approach, three pillars for smart bioenergy systems can be identified: (i) an additional demand for smaller application units in terms of energy provision from biomass, (ii) the necessity to have improved technologies providing the desired products in small units and (iii) and new concepts of system integration – including the energy system but the coupled production of materials energy carriers from biomass as well.

It is only through the combined actions of different stakeholders that flexible bioenergy can be implemented successfully. A stepwise approach to achieving flexibilisation has to be designed and a careful consideration of the directed transition of the related energy systems is imperative. The bigger picture of such an upcoming energy supply system is the combined provision of heat, power and fuels based on different renewable energy carriers. Moreover, smart bioenergy needs to be coupled with future bio-economy approaches, providing materials and energy from the limited feedstock. The book does not go into detail here but many of the elaborated technical and managing elements, such as the sustainable feedstock base, designed intermediates and controlled conversion processes in production networks are necessary for flexible bioenergy provision and for advanced bio-based material production within a future bio-economy.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Thrän, D. (2015):
Conclusion and outlook
In: Thrän, D. (ed.)
Smart bioenergy : technologies and concepts for a more flexible bioenergy provision in future energy systems
Springer, Cham, p. 161 - 177 10.1007/978-3-319-16193-8_10