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Biomass district energy trigeneration systems : emissions reduction and financial impact

Rentizelas, A. and Tolis, A. and Tatsiopoulos, I. (2009) Biomass district energy trigeneration systems : emissions reduction and financial impact. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus, 9 (1-2). pp. 139-150. ISSN 1567-7230

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Biomass cogeneration is widely used for district heating applications in central and northern Europe. Biomass trigeneration on the other hand, constitutes an innovative renewable energy application. In this work an approved UNFCCC baseline methodology has been extended to allow the examination of biomass trigeneration applications. The methodology is applied to a case study in Greece, to investigate various environmental and financial aspects of this type of applications. The results suggest that trigeneration may lead to significant emissions reduction, compared to using fossil fuels or even biomass co-generation and electricity generation. The emissions reduction achieved may be materialized into a considerable revenue stream for the project, if traded through a trading mechanism such as EU ETS. A sensitivity analysis has been performed to compensate for the high volatility of the emission allowances’ value and the immaturity of the EU Trading Scheme, which prevent a reliable estimation of the related revenue. The work concludes that emission allowances trading may develop into one of the major revenue streams of biomass trigeneration projects, significantly increasing their financial yield and attractiveness. The impact on the yield is significant even for low future values of emission allowances and could become the main income revenue source of such projects, if emission allowances increase their value substantially. The application of trigeneration for district energy proves to lead to increased environmental and financial benefits compared to the co-generation or electricity generation cases.