Universiteit Leiden

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Research project


Development of GHG calculator for bio-electricity and heat.

2007 - 2009
Ester van der Voet

The Dutch energy policy follows the EU policy on biomass energy in formulating ambitious targets for the share of the total energy supply that should come from biomass in the near future. In view of recently growing insights that bio-energy does not automatically perform better than fossil energy, the government has decided that only biomass energy conforming to sustainability criteria will be supported. These sustainability criteria have been formulated by the Cramer Commissie. One of them is the performance of chains of bio-energy with regard to greenhouse gas emissions, compared to the fossil alternative. SenterNovem has commissioned the development of two separate software tools to calculate the GHG performance of bio-energy chains: one for biofuels (commissioned to Ecofys) and one for bio-electricity and heat (commissioned to CML). A first version of the GHG calculator for bio-electricity and heat is available since summer 2008, with a supporting spreadsheet and a manual. The calculator is still under development. A new version will become available by the end of 2009. First results show that in many cases, bio-electricity and heat chains have a much better performance than their fossil alternative. This is especially true for the use of all kinds of waste and agricultural residues. For dedicated energy crops this is different.


  • Van der Voet, E., L. van Oers, C. Davis, R. Nelis, B. Cok, R. Heijungs, E. Chappin and J.B. GuinĂ©e. 2008.  Greenhouse gas calculator for electricity and heat from biomass. CML rapport 179, Leiden, The Netherlands: Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University. isbn 978-90-5191-160-2. |  report annexes |
  • E-LCA with supporting spreadsheet and manual |  software (1961 kb) |
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