A review of the role of bioenergy modelling in renewable energy research and policy development

Andrew Welfle (University of Manchester), Patricia Thornley and Mirjam Röder (both from Aston University) have published the paper ‘A review of the role of bioenergy modelling in renewable energy research and policy development’ in the journal Biomass and Bioenergy.

The research, which was conducted as part of the Supergen Bioenergy Hub Systems topic, led by Mirjam Röder, developed a bioenergy literature database of 124,285 papers published between 2000 and 2018. Over a third of the papers applied modelling analyses, using bespoke bioenergy and biomass resource models, or high-profile integrated assessment models (IAMs) and energy system models.

IAMs were found to be widely applied to investigate the impact of bioenergy within wider energy and environmental systems, such as for reducing emissions. Energy system models focused on bioenergy processes, technologies and feedstocks, although did not capture wider environmental, economic and social themes. Specialist bioenergy models offered methods for bespoke analyses of all bioenergy issues; their narrow system boundaries generate targeted outputs but wider effects such as land-use change may not be captured.

While it is not feasible to develop all-encompassing bioenergy models covering all nuances between systems, there is a strong argument for using multiple models for more robust overall conclusions, particularly when such models are used to inform policy.

The paper is available online from Elsevier.

If you have any questions about the paper or would like more information, please get in touch at supergen-bioenergy@aston.ac.uk.