The contribution of forest-based bioenergy in achieving deep decarbonization: Insights for Quebec (Canada) using a TIMES approach

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This study assesses the contribution of various forest-based bioenergy technologies when transitioning to a low carbon economy. A detailed modeling of different forest-based bioenergy pathways is provided following a techno-economic (bottom-up) approach. As an illustration, these pathways are implemented in NATEM-Québec, a detailed bottom-up energy model for Québec, Canada. It is the first time different primary and secondary forest-based bioenergy technologies are being modeled in such a detailed bottom-up energy system model like TIMES. A detailed analysis of forest-based bioenergy potential in Québec is also provided under different greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction scenarios. Main insights are as follows. The transportation sector is the primary contributor to GHG emissions over the time horizon in all scenarios, except for the most stringent GHG reduction scenario (GHGB) in 2050. The industrial sector is the main emitter by 2050 in GHGB, indicating the difficulties to decarbonize heavy industry. Furthermore, an extensive electrification is required to reach the GHG reduction targets. The bioenergy share is expected to increase considerably in the transportation and industrial sectors, cutting down on the need to reduce GHG emissions. Forest-based bioenergies such as cellulosic bioethanol, biobased heat, FT diesel and electricity as a co-product can effectively support this energy transition. The present study discerns forest-based bioenergies as an attainable decarbonization pathway for the province of Quebec and envisages a greater penetration of bioenergy than in the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy proposed by the government of Québec. Other world regions with a declining trend for traditional forest products should also consider such a strategy.

, 25 pages

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