Biofuel implications of a green economy transition in the Western Cape Province of South Africa : a system dynamics modelling approach to biofuel

Jonker, Willem Daniel (2015-12)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigates the implications of producing biofuel as part of a green economy transition in the Western Cape Province of South-Africa. Biofuel production was identified as a complex system and different methodologies were reviewed to find the most appropriate technique to analyse complex systems. Systemynamics was identified and used to build a model simulating the effects and potential of biofuel production within the Province, under certain project and policy onsiderations. The biofuel model was built with a generic structure that can simulate both bioethanol and biodiesel with different parameters. The model assumes a bioethanol plant, capable of producing 160 million litres per annum to be completed in 2018, using triticale as feedstock. A biodiesel plant with a capacity of 35 million litres per annum will also completed in 2018, using canola as production feedstock. Different scenarios regarding the energy use of biofuel production were simulated in order to evaluate the feasibility and identify the strategic intervention points, which could strengthen the business case of biofuel production. The national mandatory biofuel blending policy leads to alternative scenarios being simulated, in which the Western Cape Province is externally supplied with biofuel. Recommendations are made on the best approach to follow for the Province to form part of the blending policy, based on pre-determined indicators within the three pillars of sustainability, namely: the economy, environment and social considerations. From the model, it was deduced that feedstock availability and the high capital and operating costs are the major constraining factors in biofuel production. Recommendations are made to mitigate and improve the identified constraints. A feasible business case (operating without subsidy) was established for bioethanol production within the Province. Under the model assumptions for locally producing bioethanol (using biomass as energy source), an internal rate of return of 23% is estimated, while emissions are reduced by 63% when compared to using coal as the energy source. A medium-large scale biodiesel production facility was not feasible (subsidy of R4.30 per litre) as the adverse effects of emissions and employment creation does not justify the high costs involved. Alternative biodiesel solutions are then proposed, like encouraging the establishment of numerous small-scale on-site biodiesel production facilities. In conclusion, the study limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed. The applicability and effectiveness of using system dynamics for this study is discussed and some recommendations are made to indicate the context in which system dynamics would best be applied.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die implikasies om biobrandstof produksie as deel van die oorgangs fase na 'n groen ekonomie in die Wes Kaap Provinsie van Suid Afrika te bewerkstellig. Biobrandstof produksie word geïdentifiseer as 'n komplekse sisteem en verskillende metodologieë was ondersoek om die mees geskikte benadering tot die evaluering van komplekse sisteme te vind. Stelsel dinamika was gevolglik ge- ïdentifiseer en gebruik om 'n model te bou. Die model simuleer die uitwerking en potensiaal van biobrandstof produksie in die Provinsie onder sekere projek- en beleid inagnemings. 'n Generiese struktuur is gebruik in die biobrandstof model, sodat die produksie van bio-etanol en biodiesel gesimuleer kan word met verskillende parameters. Die model neem aan dat 'n bio-etanol produksie fasiliteit met 'n kapasiteit van 160 miljoen liter per jaar in 2018 voltooi sal wees. Vir biodiesel word 'n fasiliteit met 'n kapasiteit van 35 miljoen liter per jaar voorgestel, wat ook in 2018 voltooi sal wees. Die roumateriaal vir die biobrandstof produksie, is korog ("triticale") en canola vir bio-etanol en biodiesel onderskeidelik. Verskillende scenario's rondom die gebruik van energie in biobrandstof produksie was gesimuleer om sodoende die lewensvatbaarheid te ondersoek en strategiese ingrypings punte te identifiseer wat die finansiële vooruitsig van biobrandstof kan verbeter. Die nasionale verpligte biobrandstof vermengings beleid het daartoe gelei dat 'n alternatiewe scenario, waar die Wes Kaap Provinsie deur 'n eksterne biobrandstof-bron voorsien word, ook ondersoek moet word. Aanbevelings word gemaak oor die beste benadering om te verseker dat die Provinsie deel uit maak van die verpligte vermengings beleid, aan die hand van sekere vooraf bepaalde aanduiders binne die drie pilare van volhoubaarheid, naamlik: die ekonomie, die omgewing en sosiale faktore. Uit die model kon dit afgelei word dat die beskikbaarheid van roumateriaal, die kapitaal uitleg asook operasionele kostes die grootste beperkings op biobrandstof produksie sal wees. Aanbevelings word gemaak om die beperkings te bestuur en verbeter. 'n Lewensvatbare besigheidsaak is vir die produksie van bio-etanol in die Provinsie bevestig. Die aannames in die model rondom die plaaslike vervaardiging (deur biomassa as energiebron te gebruik) het 'n verwagte interne opbrengskoers ("IRR") van 23% getoon, terwyl emissies met tot 63% verminder in vergelyking met die gebruik van steenkool as energie bron. 'n Medium-groot skaal biodiesel produksie fasiliteit is nie lewensvatbaar nie. Met 'n minimum subsidie van R4.30 per liter wat benodig word, kan die positiewe omgewings en sosiale aspekte nie die hoë kostes regverdig nie. Alternatiewe biodiesel produksie oplossings word voorgestel soos om menigte klein-skaalse fasiliteite ter plaatse op te rig. Die studie word afgesluit deur die tekortkominge en aanbevelings van die studie vir toekomstige navorsing te noem. Die toepaslikheid en effektiwiteit van stelsel dinamika modellering vir hierdie studie word ook bespreek en aanbevelings word gemaak rondom die omstandighede waarin stelsel dinamika die beste toegepas kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97844
This item appears in the following collections: