There is a growing need to reduce the use of fossil fuels for energy. A twofold reason exists for
this: firstly these resources are finite; secondly the utilisation of these resources releases
greenhouse gases which are known to contribute towards climate change. The rise in global
population and energy use per person is adding to the unsustainable use of fossil fuels.
There is the potential to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the South West of England. The
region’s abundant natural resources could be used to reduce the overreliance on energy from
fossil fuels. A key natural and renewable resource within the region is the availability of
biomass. Bioenergy is a form of energy, derived from biomass.
Bioenergy has the capability to displace the use of fossil fuels. Additionally, it has the potential
to reduce the effect of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide during the biomass
production period. It has the possibility of being integrated into existing infrastructure and is
one of the few renewable technologies which can satisfy an array of end-use energy
requirements. This thesis highlights a unique method of assessing the potential of bioenergy
in the South West of England using a multi appraisal technique.
The initial assessment within this thesis has examined the resource availability of bioenergy
based on biomass feedstock. Whilst quantifying the overall availability, constraints have been
examined to determine the realisable potential of biomass as an energy source. The analysis
has then assessed the drivers and barriers of bioenergy development within the region and
contextualised this for the UK in general. Following the selection of a single bioenergy
pathway (biogas production from anaerobic digestion), the technology has been assessed
using a multi appraisal methodology. This methodology has involved the use of net-energy
analysis, environmental life cycle assessment and financial investment assessments.
The thesis demonstrates that the region has a notable resource availability of biomass.
However, a number of barriers to development have been found which could impede the
utilisation of this energy source. The selected bioenergy pathway of biogas from anaerobic
digestion was found to eliminate some of these barriers. Assessing the potential of biogas
using multi appraisal techniques highlighted that this pathway could, in some cases, offer
positive environmental, energy and financial benefits.
|Date of Award||1 Jul 2010|
|Supervisor||Marcelle McManus (Supervisor) & Geoff Hammond (Supervisor)|