UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


The Bioenergy Value Chains

12 July 2017


The Bioenergy Value Chains project aims to better understand the potential role of biomass in the UK energy system by integrating models of different aspects of international and UK bioenergy supply chains across multiple scales. 

We are estimating the potential size of the international bioenergy trade to the UK in the future.  Current low-carbon energy system scenarios assume high levels of biomass imports, yet the availability of these imports is highly uncertain, with these scenarios arbitrarily assuming that the UK share of global trade will be limited to the current UK share of global GDP.  We are exploring scenarios for UK imports using the TIAM-UCL global energy system model, which examines potential evolutions of energy systems across the world to meet climate targets.  This work includes updating the biomass resource database in UCL-TIAM and adding full land use and land use change GHG emissions, so our scenarios reflect state-of-art thinking.

For the UK, we are using the UKTM energy system model to produce bioenergy scenarios that are analysed at Imperial College using the high-resolution Bioenergy Value Chains Model.  We have compared how several models represent the many diverse bioenergy technologies that are under development.  Our aim is to eventually develop UKTM to examine trade-offs between growing food and fuel in the UK in the future.

This project is led by Imperial College and other collaborators are the Universities of Southampton and Manchester, and Rothamsted Research. At UCL, the project team is composed of Paul Ekins, Paul Dodds and Isabela Butnar.

List of publications:

Sabio, N., Dodds, P. ‘Evaluating the impact of bioenergy emission accounting methodology in energy system decarbonisation pathways to 2050 using a scenario approach: a case of UK’, International Energy Workshop, University College Cork, June 2016, Cork (Ireland).

Sabio, N. ‘Impact of bioenergy emission spatiotemporal factors on UK low carbon energy pathways’, WholeSEM Workshop, Integrated energy systems models incorporating spatial and temporal detail, Imperial College London, May 2016, London (UK).

Sabio, N., Dodds, P. ‘Environmental impact metrics and the role of Bioenergy in a 2050 low carbon energy system: a case study of United Kingdom.’ IEA Biomass Conference, October 2015, Berlin (Germany).