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Regional Biomass Scenarios for the Production of Fischer-Tropsch Liquid Fuels

Regional Biomass Scenarios for the Production of Fischer-Tropsch Liquid Fuels
Project team:

Leible, Ludwig (Project leader); Beate Fürniß; Stefan Kälber; Gunnar Kappler; Eberhard Nieke; Peter Proplesch


DaimlerChrysler AG, Stuttgart

Start date:


End date:


Research area:

Sustainability and environment

Project description

Against the background of rising crude oil prices and with the extension of tax exemption until 2009 through amendment of the German Mineral Oil Taxation Act, biofuels, such as bioethanol or biodiesel (RME), are more than ever in the focus of the public. In particular, synthetic transportation fuels produced via gasification and synthesis processes (e.g. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis) are regarded as a very promising alternative. When using biomass as raw material, these transportation fuels are also referred to as "biomass-to-liquid (BTL) fuels". It is expected that the large volume of lignocellulose can be made available for the production of renewable liquid fuels, and this more efficiently than by other options of liquid fuel production from biomass. In addition, these new conversion technologies allow tailoring fuel qualities to the requirements of specific engines.

A particular aspect of this strategy for biomass utilization was investigated within the framework of this study. The all-year-round secure supply of gasification and synthesis plants for the production of Fischer-Tropsch liquid fuels from biomass represents a great logistics challenge. In two exemplary regions of Baden-Württemberg - biomass facilities with an annual demand for one million Mg dry matter of biomass and an FT fuel production capacity of 200,000 Mg respectively, were assumed - the supply costs of biomass were investigated taking into account the regional conditions of biomass collection, conditioning, storage, and transport. The biomass resources considered in the two selected regions were straw, hay (from surplus grasslands), wood residues from forestry, and corn silage. The first step of the study was to estimate the volume of each biomass resource available in the two model regions. Subsequently, detailed investigations were conducted regarding the complete process chains of biomass supply and preparation. Here, the focus was on economic aspects.

Taking into account the mentioned biomass resources, the findings of the study indicate that a biomass volume of 4 million Mg dry matter (DM) can be supplied in Baden-Württemberg and can be used for energy purposes without getting in conflict with previous forms of land use or with restrictions concerning preservation of soil humus balance. Hence, wood residues from forestry are the dominant biomass resource in Baden-Württemberg. In view of biomass logistics, at both model regions (locations "North" nearby the city of Heilbronn and "South" nearby Sigmaringen) a collection radius from 50 to 60 km is sufficient to supply 1 million Mg DM of biomass per year. Underlying this collection radius, the supply costs for wood residues average at 60 to 70 €/Mg DM. For comparison: the supply costs of straw are 20 to 30 €/Mg DM higher. The supply of hay from surplus grasslands or corn silage is definitely more unfavourable from the economic view.

This study served to prepare a joint workshop of Daimler Chrysler AG and several ministries of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg in June 2005. The results of this workshop contribute to the public discussion of the chances and perspectives of synthetic liquid fuels from biomass. The work on the study was completed in June 2005 with the publication of the final report.

Bibliographic Data:
Leible, L.; Kälber, S.; Kappler, G.:
Development of scenarios for the supply of biomass from agriculture and forestry in two model regions of Baden-Württemberg for the production of synthetic liquid fuels - Regional biomass scenarios. Study on behalf of DaimlerChrysler AG, June 2005, Karlsruhe: Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, 42 pages in German
Title/jpg Full text (German)/pdf Table of contents (German) Summary (German)

  • Press release from DaimlerChrysler AG dated August 16th 2005 in German here



Dr. Ludwig Leible
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24869