Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems

Salzburg, Austria 2008

Transportation biofuels: For greenhouse gas mitigation, energy security or other reasons?

Salzburg, Austria, February 5 – 6, 2008

Jointly organised by

Task 38 – Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems


The Austrian Participation of Tasks in the IEA Bioenergy is financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) Energy and Environmental Technologies

Scope and objectives of the workshop

Transportation, including emissions from the production of transport fuels, is responsible for roughly one quarter of global GHG emissions. The use of biofuels in Europe and other places in the world in this sector rapidly increasing due to policies, such as the EU liquid biofuels directive etc. One of the reasons for these policies is the attempt to meet the GHG targets in the Kyoto Protocol, another one is energy security. Biofuels may also offer social and economic benefits like employment and income generation, support for rural development and traditional industries, reduced regional trade balance, and many others.

The debate about the sustainability of biofuels is complex and wide ranging. The impact of biomass on land use and land-use change is questioned. Examples include the spreading of oil-palm plantations in SE Asia, at the cost of natural forest ecosystems. Potential impacts on soil and water are also an issue. Other impacts of increased biofuel production include increased agricultural commodity prices (soybean price increases observed recently, maize prices in Mexico) and conflicts with the use of the same raw materials for other uses (e.g. paper industry, wood products)

The workshop included information on

  • Trends and policies of transport biofuels
  • Different types of transportation biofuels (first and second generation)
  • The calculation of GHG on basis of a life cycle assessment with special regard to land use change issues and impact on soils
  • Other local environmental and social impacts, including energy security
  • Possible conflicts between different use of biomass resources
  • Concept of sustainable biofuels

And provided a forum for government, policy and academic representatives to exchange information on current knowledge of these topics.


Session 1: Biofuels technologies, policies and trends

Plans and policies for biofuels of the Land Salzburg. – G. Löffler, Salzburg State Government

Overview on first and second generation of transportation biofuels. – G. Jungmeier, J. Spitzer, Joanneum Research, Austria

Session 2: Reports from some IEA Bioenergy Tasks on examples, case studies, new concepts

The biorefining story: Developments at the University of British Columbia and updates from IEA Bioenergy Task 39 –  M. Wörgetter1, J. Saddler2, R. Chandra2 and W. Mabee2 (Task 39 Commercialisation of 1st and 2nd Generation Biofuels), Josephinum, Austria (1) and University of British Columbia, Canada (2)

Biomethane: upgrading, grid injection and vehicle fuel  A. Wellinger (Task37 Energy from Biogas and Landfill Gas) NOVA, Switzerland

Synthetic biofuels: Güssing demo plant – R. Rauch, (Task33 Thermal Gasification of Biomass) Vienna Univ. of Technology, Austria

Overview of biorefinery concepts and basics for their greenhouse gas balance – G. Jungmeier (Task42 Biorefineries: Co-Production of Fuels, Chemicals, Power and Materials from Biomass), Joanneum Research, Austria

Session 3: LCA and greenhouse gas emissions

Integration of land use change into LCA  N. Bird (Task 38 Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems), Joanneum Research, Austria

Measuring carbon neutrality – A. Cowie, (Task38 Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems), NSW Department of Industries, Australia

Fertilizer use – N2O – W. Winiwarter, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Austrian Research Centers, Austria

Biofuels for climate change mitigation and energy security – L. Gustavsson, Mid Sweden University, Sweden

Session 4: Other impacts, benefits and goals

EU policies for transport biofuels and the Strategic Research Agenda of the European Biofuels Technology Platform  Birger Kerckow, European Biofuels Technology Platform/Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, Germany

Local impacts with special regard on water issues. – I. R. Calder, Newcastle University UK

The Global Bioenergy Partnership: working together to promote sustainable development – P. Garibaldi, Global Bioenergy Partnership, Italy

Progress within the “Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels” – Charlotte Opal and Georgios Sarantakos, EPFL-Energy Center, Switzerland.

Excursion – February 6th 2008

In the morning a study tour took participants to

  • The Biomass CHP Power Plant and a Black Liquor Boiler of the M-real paper industry in Hallein
  • The Biogas Plant „Gaskraft Reitbach” in Eugendorf (near of Salzburg) and to a biogas feed in station as well as a biogas filling station.

List of Participants

List of participants (PDF)

Click on thumbnails to enlarge pictures