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Investigating fossil fuel utilization and the potential of reducing fossil fuels for heating in companies: The case of Gävleborg County
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Energy system.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Fossil fuels constitute roughly 80 % of the world’s energy supply and of this amount oil makes up almost one third. The combustion of these fossil fuels leads to increasing levels of greenhouse gases, causing a warming of the earth through the so called greenhouse effect. Because of this, several environmental and energy goals have been established by both the European Union and Sweden.

 

The purpose of this thesis was to investigate how the use of fossil fuels can be reduced in companies that use oil for heating, in Gävleborg County. The thesis was divided into four problems to be solved. First, the companies that fit this description was identified by contacting energy advisors at municipalities. The second task was to investigate how willing these companies were to change to some other form of heating, which meant creating and sending a survey to them.

 

It was also investigated what other aspects can affect a companies’ decision making, both technical and behavioural. The technical aspects meant listing and discussing some of the technical difficulties that can hinder a company from changing heating technology. Behavioural aspects were investigated using the comments left on the survey as well as research on the topic of barriers and driving forces that can affect companies.

 

The final task was to estimate the reduction in CO2 emissions that could be achieved. This was done with data for the companies that answered that they wanted to change to some other form of heating and assumption regarding to the amount of emissions from different fuels.

 

It was found that 95 companies use oil in Gävleborg County and 26 of these companies answered the survey to some extent, although results were only based on 24 of these answers. On the question of whether companies could consider changing to a different heating system, the same number (nine) that said “yes” also said “no”. There were many reasons for a company not wanting to change. Technical difficulties might be proximity to district heating net, not being able to install heat pumps, lacking infrastructure for biomass supply or being too close to a densely populated area to use biomass. Even so, it was concluded that for every company there is a possible technical solution.

 

Behavioural aspects were also found to be numerous. Some companies answered that their reason for not changing was not owning their working facility and seeing the heating need as being too low to justify an investment. The research collected stated that lack of time, lack of money and having other priorities are important barriers. Meaning that to help companies change heating system, financial aid should be given, for example in the form of subsidies and soft loans. It can also be important to provide consulting assistance and informing companies of energy related issues and the benefits of dealing with them.

 

The other answers to the survey varied a lot. The amount of oil used varied from 5 MWh to over 125000 MWh. The companies could also consider changing to all the optional heating systems, though district heating and heat pump were the most chosen with eight each. Ten companies said that they needed consultation and the same number said that they didn’t need it. Ten companies also said that they needed investment support and eight said that they did not need it.

It was estimated that greenhouse gas emissions could be lowered by approximately 28900 tons, for the companies that took part in the survey. Two companies could also consider installing solar heating and assuming that this replaces 20 % of the total heating demand, a further reduction of roughly 1030 tons of greenhouse gas emissions is achieved.

 

Based on past research, it was concluded that it is possible to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in a region or company. This might come in the form of lowering overall energy use or replacing oil with biofuels. The responses to the survey also show that there is some interest in the companies asked. Even though they might have answered that they did not want to change heating, they did at least answer the survey. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 40 p.
National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22965OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-22965DiVA: diva2:1052214
External cooperation
Länsstyrelsen Gävleborg
Subject / course
Energy systems
Educational program
Energy systems – master’s programme (two years)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2016-12-09 Created: 2016-12-05 Last updated: 2016-12-09Bibliographically approved

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