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Climate effects of bioenergy from forest residues in comparison to fossil energy
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Built Environment and Energy Technology. (SBER)
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Built Environment and Energy Technology. (SBER)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Built Environment and Energy Technology. (SBER)
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2015 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 138, p. 36-50Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Forest residues can be left at the harvest site to gradually decompose, or can be collected for energy purposes. This study analyzes the primary energy and climate impacts of bioenergy systems where forest residues are collected and used for electricity, heat and transportation, compared to fossil-based energy systems where fossil fuels provide the same services while forest residues are left on site to decompose. Time profiles are elaborated of primary energy use and carbon dioxide emissions from various energy applications fulfilled by bioenergy or fossil energy systems. Different biological decay functions are considered based on process-based modeling and inventory data across various climate zones. For all scenarios, the changes in cumulative radiative forcing (CRF) are calculated over a 300-year period, to evaluate the short- and long-term contributions of forest residue to climate change mitigation. A life cycle perspective along the full energy chains is used to evaluate the overall effectiveness of each system. The results show largest primary energy and climate benefits when forest residues are collected and used efficiently for energy services. Using biomass to substitute fossil coal provides greater climate change mitigation benefits than substituting oil or fossil gas. Some bioenergy substitutions result in positive CRF, i.e. increased global warming, during an initial period. This occurs for relatively inefficient bioenergy conversion pathways to substitute less carbon intensive fossil fuels, e.g. biomotor fuel used to replace diesel. More beneficial bioenergy substitutions, such as efficiently replacing coal, result immediately in reduced CRF. Biomass decay rates and transportation distance have less influence on climate benefits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 138, p. 36-50
Keywords [en]
forest residues, primary energy, carbon dioxide, radiative forcing, fuel substitution
National Category
Other Environmental Biotechnology
Research subject
Technology (byts ev till Engineering), Bioenergy Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-37493DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.10.013ISI: 000347582700005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84909957910OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-37493DiVA, id: diva2:752744
Note

Correction published in: Applied Energy, 2016, vol. 170, pp. 490-493.DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.02.087

Available from: 2014-10-06 Created: 2014-10-06 Last updated: 2018-08-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Climate impact of the sustainable use of forest biomass in energy and material system: a life cycle perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate impact of the sustainable use of forest biomass in energy and material system: a life cycle perspective
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Human society releases greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere while providing housing, heat, mobility and industrial production. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the main causes of climate change, coming mainly from burning fossil fuels and land-use changes. Sustainably managed forests play an important role in climate change mitigation with the prospect of sustainably providing essential materials and services as part of a low-carbon economy, both through the substitution of fossil-intensive fuels and material and through their potential to capture and store carbon in the long-term perspective.

The overall aim of this thesis was to develop a methodology under a life cycle perspective to assess the climate impact of the sustainable use of forest biomass in bioenergy and material systems. To perform this kind of analysis a methodological framework is needed to accurately compare the different biological and technological systems with the aim to minimize the net carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere and hence the climate impact. In such a comparison, the complete energy supply chains from natural resources to energy end-use services has to be considered and are defined as the system boundaries.

The results show that increasing biomass production through more intensive forest management or the usage of more productive tree species combined with substitution of non-wood products and fuels can significantly reduce global warming. The biggest single factor causing radiative forcing reduction was using timber to produce wood material to replace energy-intensive construction materials such as concrete and steel. Another very significant factor was replacing fossil fuels with forest residues from forest thinning, harvest, wood processing, and post-use wood products. The fossil fuel that was replaced by forest biomass affected the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with carbon-intensive coal being most beneficial to replace. Over the long term, an active and sustainable management of forests, including their use as a source for wood products and bioenergy allows the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2018
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 306/2018
Keywords
forest residues, fossil fuel substitution, forest management, radiative forcing, land use change, climate change, bioenergy
National Category
Energy Systems Civil Engineering
Research subject
Technology (byts ev till Engineering), Bioenergy Technology; Technology (byts ev till Engineering), Civil engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-69561 (URN)978-91-88761-11-8 (ISBN)978-91-88761-12-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-01-18, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-01-05 Created: 2018-01-04 Last updated: 2018-05-17Bibliographically approved

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Gustavsson, LeifHaus, SylviaSathre, RogerTruong, Nguyen Le

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