WIT Press

Energy From Biomass: Decision Support System For Integrating Sustainability Into Technology Assessment


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WIT Press


P. Lacquaniti & S. Sala


The Kyoto Protocol set specific targets of CO2 reduction and furthermore, the European climate and energy policy package by 2020 fixed a set of actions encompassing: cutting energy consumption by 20% of the projected 2020 levels by improving energy efficiency; cutting greenhouse gases by at least 20% of 1990 levels; and increasing the use of renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass, etc) to 20% of total energy production. Within this context, a number of actions have to be implemented in order to comply with environmental targets, in particular defining a framework for energy planning at the local scale. To be sustainable, the energy planning process at the local scale requires an integrated assessment to individuate the best solution, considering resources of all types (physical, human and capital) available in the specific context. Many environmental, economic, technological and social issues should be considered to define the sustainability level of a technological choice. In this study, we present a decision support system (DSS) for assessing the sustainability of using local biomasses as an energetic source. The aim of the research is to define a set of indicators to assess the feasibility of the exploitation of biomass sources, the underlying critical issues and potential areas of optimization, providing a valuable DSS for decision makers. This work was based on the analysis of the different energetic potentialities of local contexts in terms of forest biomass resources availability, also taking into account local environmental, economic and social conditions. The assessment of environmental, economic and social sustainability of a plant producing electricity powered by Syngas, which comes from the gasification of woody forest biomasses, was performed. The case of an Italian mountain community (Comunità Montana delle Alpi Lepontine) in northern Italy is presented. Keywords: biomass, sustainability assessment, gasification, renewable energy, energy planning.


biomass, sustainability assessment, gasification, renewable energy,energy planning