University of Twente Student Theses


Can we get more out of our roads?

Qin, Ling (2011) Can we get more out of our roads?

[img] PDF
Abstract:Under the pressure of increasing the share of renewable energy, the Netherlands is looking for available land to develop bio-energy, among which the road verge is a good option. This land is managed by Rijkswaterstaat and municipal authorities, and the verge grass is mown twice a year without any energy utilization. The opportunities and constraints of cultivating energy crops on road verge are fully discussed. The assumption of this study is to produce biomass from short rotation coppice (SRC) of willow on available road verge, and generate electricity from direct combustion at the Twence biomass power plant in the study area of eastern Overijssel. The entire production chain is assessed by a productivity index of Energy Return on Investment (EROI). Due to the constraints on land availability (land use conflicts, road safety and ecological concerns), available road verge for willow along A1, A35, N18 & N35 is calculated as 0.71-2.39 km2. If some marginal land other than road verge is spared for natural conservation, higher value in the range would be achieved. An empirical model is developed, which connects the amount of available road verge with length of roads and number of junctions. It is estimated that about 3.88 km2 road verge along all the A & N roads is available for willow in the study area, 1.15 km2 of which can be used without ecological concerns. Six management options (reference option, reference potential option and four willow cultivation options) of bio-energy production on estimated available road verge are developed, the EROI comparison of which shows that willow cultivation on conditionally available (three land availability constraints considered) road verge without any application of fertilizer or herbicide has the best energy performance, but not as competitive as common commercial cultivation of willow. However, if the energy input of reference system (mowing and transporting verge grass twice a year) is considered, it would actually become a saving of energy and costs. Although the available road verge, biomass production, electricity generation, and reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emission from the best willow cultivation option are not significant comparing to national or even provincial level, the idea of making use out of our roads is definitely feasible as the currently unused road verge is turned into a feedstock for biomass and some extra energy, financial gain and reduction of GHG emission can be expected. Key words: road verge, constraints, willow, SRC, verge grass, EROI, electricity, feasibility
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page