About the project

Non-fossil carbon-based fuels can be produced based on biomass (biofuels) or based on carbon neutral electricity and CO2 (electrofuels). Biofuels currently dominate the market for non-fossil fuels and technology development brings increasingly competitive biofuel production. With the prospect of a renewable power system, the demand for balancing power from biomass is expected to grow, thus increasing competition for biomass between the power- and transport sectors.

Sweden, in addition to its ambitions for the transport sector, has a political goal of a renewable power system by 2040. In power systems with large amounts of variable renewable energy (VRE), the use of biomass or other carbon-based fuels for thermal power generation can provide the flexibility. Such a VRE based system may also produce electro-fuels, and, in fact, producing electro-fuels can act as a tool to manage variations within such a system, by providing an offset for periods of high wind- and solar generation. Hence, biomass may be used in two different ways to ensure production of renewable transport fuels. Either as biofuels, or as balancing power to a renewable power system that supplies electro-fuels. Which route that is most cost-effective heavily depends on technical parameters as well as demand for negative emissions with BECCS (Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage), and constraints on biomass supply.

This project investigates how bio energy for CO2 neutral electricity and transport is used most cost-effectively, under the assumption that biomass is a limited resource. It combines a state-of-the-art, sector-integrated energy system model with a transport module in order to support policy development, as well as robust long-term investments in the power- and transport sectors. The transition pathways for the European transport- and power systems, in particular how carbon-based fuels may be produced and used in these systems during the coming 20-30 years, will be analyzed. The results will contribute new knowledge about transition pathways towards a GHG neutral and resource efficient society, where energy services are provided by robust and flexible systems using renewable energy sources.


Fredrik Hedenus, Chalmers


Göran Berndes and Lina Reichenberg, Chalmers // Tom Brown, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Time plan
1 July 2020 - 31 December 2021

Total project cost
2 253 000 SEK

The Swedish Energy Agency, the f3 partner organisations, Chalmers and KIT.

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

The project has a reference group including energy policy spokespersons from the Swedish Left party and Center Party, and industry representatives from Preem, Göteborg Energi and Södra. The project will be carried out internationally in association with e.g. IEA Bioenergy Task 45.