About the project

In many Swedish municipalities, current public transportation bus fleets are primarily fueled with renewable fuels. Nationally, recent figures show that they make up a share of nearly 86% of buses, primarely biofuels. The transition from fossil fuels has been pursued to achieve reductions in GHG emissions while also supporting Swedish biofuel production systems and regional industries. As a large number of sectors within Sweden attempt to “de-fossilize” the economy, electrification has been promoted as a potential pathway for the transportation sector.

While many popular science reports and media platforms present generally positive views regarding this development, the academic literature has yet to review the consequences of such transitions for incumbent regional renewable energy systems. Biogas systems are an important example of such. Implications for biogas systems of an e-transformation conceivably include a number of displacement effects within the regional economic system. Disruption of biogas systems can in turn affect biowaste valorization systems, employment, regional identity, and environmental sustainability, yet these are yet to be thoroughly addressed. There is thus also a potential to undermine a transition towards a bio-based and circular economy, where displacing biofuels in the transport system may actually fail to displace fossil fuel utilization, while also creating losses for society by stranding biogas infrastructure assets, and reducing society’s capacity to deal with bio-waste flows. There is a thus need to understand the broader systemic implications as electric transportation systems have been promoted primarily with positive expectations.

The aim of this project is to review the broader systemic implications of these choices on a regional perspective to understand the potential consequences of replacing developed biogas systems with electric bus transport systems, the political issues surrounding a shift to electrification, displacement effects and opportunities and implications for regional sustainability.

To start with, the project will review current discourse enfolding public transport electrification and the potential effects this will have on current renewable energy systems (e.g. among social stakeholders, media and academic literature). Thereafter, anticipated consequences will be reviewed and outlined, first by producing a mapping of the consequences, and second complementing this with an assessment of the socio-economic and environmental sustainability implications using qualitative and quantitative methods. The work will then examine the political issues surrounding a shift to electrification in inner cities and displacement of current biogas use.

Facts

Manager
Michael Martin, IVL

Contact
michael.martin@ivl.se

Participants
Sara Andersson, Anders Hjort and Åsa Romson, IVL // Philip Peck, Lund University

Time plan
September 2019 - October 2020

Total project cost
1 809 942 SEK

Funding
Swedish Energy Agency, the f3 partners, IVL, Biogas Öst AB, Energigas Sverige Service, Gasum AB, Innovatum AB, KTH, Linköping University, Power Circle AB, Ragn-Sells AB, Scania AB, Storstockholms lokaltrafik and Vattenfall AB.

Swedish Energy Agency's project number within the collaborative research program
48367-1

The project group also includes representatives from industry, the user side, researchers and decision makers.