The government's long-term goal is that Denmark must be independent of fossil fuels by 2050. The report "Energy Scenarios to 2020, 2035 and 2050" presented four possible options for a fossil free Denmark in 2050. In three of the four scenarios, heavy transport (trucks, buses, ships and partly vans) is expected to use biofuels. Even though the transition is not to be completed until 2050, the RE-fuels must be phased before 2050.
The objective of the project is to analyse whether it is most appropriate to use liquid or gaseous biofuels in the long term.
The project analyses the advantages, disadvantages and consequences of Denmark choosing a development path consisting of liquid biofuels and gaseous fuels for heavy transport. Parameters involved in the scenarios included resource use, climate/environment/ sustainability, system context, technological robustness, economy and other societal consequences.
The study have analysed three scenarios for a future transportation sector without fossil energy in 2050:
- “The liquid road” where needed biofuel for heavy transport is mostly covered by liquid biofuels.
- “The gas road” where biogas covers more of the biofuel than it does today.
- “The gas-methane road” where the biogas is hydrogenated to methane with hydrogen.
The entire transportation sector and the interplay with the additional energy system, including the North European electricity market, are incorporated into the analysis. The report estimates that first generation biofuels will be phased out before 2040 and that lighter transport and parts of the heavy transport will be electrified.
In the short term, “the gas road” will be more expensive than liquid biofuels due to the additional cost of establishing the infrastructure in the form of gas-cars and gas petrol stations. In the long term, however, this scenario will be cheaper. Partly due to the fact that expenses for distribution of liquid exceed that of gas when the stations are build and partly due to the expectation that biofuels is set to remain more expensive than biogas.
At the same time, “the gas road” is more environmentally beneficial than “the liquid road “as biogas uses manure and, as a result, helps reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses.
The analysis also illustrates that notable economical resources are required for biogas and other green gasses to outmatch natural gas. The expenses of crowding out is up to DKK 2000 per tonne CO2 for replacing natural gas with biogas in both the energy- and the transport sector.
The analysis estimates that the demand for biofuels will eventually exceed that of the sustainable resources. Integration of hydrogen in the production of biofuel could remedy the challenge in relation to resources.