Impact of feedstock, land use change, and soil organic carbon on energy and greenhouse gas performance of biomass cogeneration technologies
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Applied energy. - Barking
, p. 122-130
University of Antwerp
Bioenergy (i.e., bioheat and bioelectricity) could simultaneously address energy insecurity and climate change. However, bioenergys impact on climate change remains incomplete when land use changes (LUC), soil organic carbon (SOC) changes, and the auxiliary energy consumption are not accounted for in the life cycle. Using data collected from Belgian farmers, combined heat and power (CHP) operators, and a life cycle approach, we compared 40 bioenergy pathways to a fossil-fuel CHP system. Bioenergy required between 0.024 and 0.204 MJ (0.86 MJth + 0.14 MJel)−1, and the estimated energy ratio (energy output-to-input ratio) ranged from 5 to 42. SOC loss increased the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of residue based bioenergy. On average, the iLUC represented ∼67% of the total GHG emissions of bioenergy from perennial energy crops. However, the net LUC (i.e., dLUC + iLUC) effects substantially reduced the GHG emissions incurred during all phases of bioenergy production from perennial crops, turning most pathways based on energy crops to GHG sinks. Relative to fossil-fuel based CHP all bioenergy pathways reduced GHG emissions by 8114%. Fluidized bed technologies maximize the energy and the GHG benefits of all pathways. The size and the power-to-heat ratio for a given CHP influenced the energy and GHG performance of these bioenergy pathways. Even with the inclusion of LUC, perennial crops had better GHG performance than agricultural and forest residues. Perennial crops have a high potential in the multidimensional approach to increase energy security and to mitigate climate change. The full impacts of bioenergy from these perennial energy crops must, however, be assessed before they can be deployed on a large scale.