The scale of transition: an integrated study of the performance of CHP biomass plants in the Netherlands

Antonia Proka, Matthijs Hisschemöller, Elissaios Papyrakis

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Combined heat and power (CHP) plants using biomass are considered important to substantially increase the share of renewables in the total energy supply and meet ambitious climate targets. The analysis focuses on the links between the size of bio-fuelled CHP plants and their techno-economic and environmental performance, as well as social acceptance. In an exploratory way, this paper compares the performance of six bioenergy plants in the Netherlands in these three key areas, thereby focusing on the link between the size of biomass plants and overall performance in an integrated multi-dimensional manner. The findings show that economic and environmental performance does not necessarily improve with scale and, in effect, several large-scale biomass plants score low in several environmental indicators. In addition, we find that there is often limited data availability on economic, environmental and social characteristics of biomass plants in the Netherlands, despite the fact that their operations are largely supported by public funds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-241
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Integrative Environmental Sciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • biomass
  • Environmental performance
  • scale

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