Socio-Economic Assessment of Implementing Mobile Biorefineries, A pre-study with focus on the European Union

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Industrial ecology (MPTSE), MSc
Höcke, Edvard
Jacobssson, Anton
Fossil resources will likely face future resource problems, and the use of such resources is one of the main drivers for global warming. Biological feedstock has been suggested as a potential alternative to fossil resources. Such feedstock can be used in biorefineries to produce fuels and materials. A desire to make biorefineries more flexible by making them mobile has been expressed by the European Union’s Commission of Research, which has initiated a research project called Mobile FLIP to develop mobile biorefinery concepts. A socio-economic assessment of implementing these mobile biorefineries is to be carried out within this project, and that is where this study aims at contributing. To identify socio-economic factors related to implementing mobile biorefineries, the method of content analysis was applied by analysing 25 reports and articles from both journals and newspapers. The texts were culled for arguments that associate or dissociate socio-economic factors to mobile biorefineries. A total of 104 arguments where identified and categorised into four primary arguments: (1) cost, (2) feedstock availability, (3) rural development and (4) forest fire. The identified arguments were both compared to two established frameworks for social assessment of products, and analysed by reviewing the existing literature and performing some screening calculations. Most of the identified factors could not be identified in the established frameworks for social assessment of products. This is likely due to in the context in which these were developed. Current product social assessment frameworks were developed in a developing country context, while mobile biorefineries are mainly discussed in a developed country context. All socio-economic factors identified in this study should be evaluated further to confirm their importance and impact. Some specific suggestions of relevant methods for further analysis are suggested. Life cycle costing (LCC) could be used for assessing the primary argument cost. A risk assessment should be performed to assess the potential risk of forest fires. A societal life cycle assessment using working hours as indicator may be used to assess rural development in general and rural jobs in particular.
Annan geovetenskap och miljövetenskap , Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
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