Bioenergy represents more than two thirds of the overall consumption of renewable energy in Denmark. We use more and more bioenergy, and many power plants are switching from fossil fuels to wood pellets, wood chips or straw. The production of biogas is increasing rapidly, and it is expected to triple from 2012 to 2020.
Types of bioenergy
Bioenergy is energy that is stored in organic material or biomass. The biomass can be combusted directly, or it can be processed into various types of fuel, e.g. wood pellets, biogas or bioethanol. The most common types of bioenergy used in Denmark are:
- Combustion: Combined heat and power (CHP) plants use solid biomass to produce electricity and heat.
- Biogas: Biogas is produced by anaerobic digestion of organic material such as manure, sewage sludge and organic waste. It consists primarily of methane and it can replace natural gas.
- Gasification: Thermal gasification is the heating of biomass with limited oxygen available. The biomass is turned into inflammable gases that can be combusted or upgraded.
- Liquid biofuels: Biomass crops and crop residuals can be used to produce liquid biofuels. Bioethanol is produced by fermentation and distillation of biomass, and biodiesel is produced by processing plant-based oils.
Bioenergy plays an important part in the green transition
Most sources of renewable energy are fluctuating and production from solar panels or wind turbines are depending on weather conditions. So far it is not possible to store electricity in large amounts. In contrast, however, it is possible to store bioenergy and use it in periods with high energy demand. Therefore, bioenergy is likely to play a critical role in terms of ensuring the security of supply in a future energy system with a large proportion of renewable energy.
The Danish Energy Agency have analyzed the role of that bioenergy may play in a future Danish energy system. This has been done by establishing several energy scenarios that describe the options of how we can meet our energy needs with renewable energy. The scenarios differ significantly in terms of the use of different types of bioenergy for heat, electricity and transport.
The Danish Energy Agency’s work with bioenergy
Bioenergy is promoted through financial support (feed in tariffs or feed in premiums) and tax exemptions. The Danish Energy Agency is responsible for regulations regarding the support for bioenergy. The Danish Ministry of Taxation is responsible for regulations concerning taxes for energy and CO2. Energinet.dk is administrating the support schemes for bioenergy.
The Danish Energy Agency regulates the amount of energy crops in the production of biogas and the agency is also responsible for regulations on the sustainability of biofuels for transportation.
Furthermore, the Danish Energy Agency is working with issues related to the EU regulation with regards to sustainable bioenergy. The Danish Energy Agency has also carried out an analysis of bioenergy in Denmark, which examines the policy conditions for an efficient and sustainable use of bioenergy.