The EU is one of the largest producers and consumers of wood pellets in the world, covering around 36% of the global wood pellet production and around 50% of the global consumption in 2018. The EU wood pellet consumption is expected to further increase in response to the ambitious energy and climate goals for 2030. Currently, wood pellets are mainly produced from sawdust and other sawmill residues; however, other types of forest feedstock are being investigated in order to meet the increasing wood pellet demand and move toward greater energy independence. The aim of this study is to evaluate and compare the environmental impact of different wood pellet supply chains. A comparative cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment is performed considering the following wood feedstock systems: (i) sawdust from sawmill (S1), (ii) roundwood logs (S2), (iii) whole trees from forest thinning operation (S3), and (iv) logging residues produced during forest tree harvesting (S4). The study focuses on Global Warming Potential (GWP), Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP), Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP), and Human Toxicity Potential (HTP). Results show that S3 displays the lowest figures on all the environmental impact categories considered in this study. Compared to the reference case S1, S3 shows a GWP reduction of 46%, an ODP reduction of 6.6%, a POCP reduction of 14.8%, and HTP reduction of 13.2%. S3 and S4 have lower GWP than S1 and S2, even when the biogenic CO2 emissions are considered. Overall, the life cycle phases that have the highest GWP, POCP, and HTP are the burning phase and the preparation of the material to be pelletized, particularly the drying process. Nevertheless, the main phases that contribute to the ODP are the forest operations and the pellet preparation.

Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Bioenergy Production from Different Wood Pellet Supply Chains

Andrea Sgarbossa;Martina Boschiero
;
Raffaele Cavalli;Michela Zanetti
2020

Abstract

The EU is one of the largest producers and consumers of wood pellets in the world, covering around 36% of the global wood pellet production and around 50% of the global consumption in 2018. The EU wood pellet consumption is expected to further increase in response to the ambitious energy and climate goals for 2030. Currently, wood pellets are mainly produced from sawdust and other sawmill residues; however, other types of forest feedstock are being investigated in order to meet the increasing wood pellet demand and move toward greater energy independence. The aim of this study is to evaluate and compare the environmental impact of different wood pellet supply chains. A comparative cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment is performed considering the following wood feedstock systems: (i) sawdust from sawmill (S1), (ii) roundwood logs (S2), (iii) whole trees from forest thinning operation (S3), and (iv) logging residues produced during forest tree harvesting (S4). The study focuses on Global Warming Potential (GWP), Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP), Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP), and Human Toxicity Potential (HTP). Results show that S3 displays the lowest figures on all the environmental impact categories considered in this study. Compared to the reference case S1, S3 shows a GWP reduction of 46%, an ODP reduction of 6.6%, a POCP reduction of 14.8%, and HTP reduction of 13.2%. S3 and S4 have lower GWP than S1 and S2, even when the biogenic CO2 emissions are considered. Overall, the life cycle phases that have the highest GWP, POCP, and HTP are the burning phase and the preparation of the material to be pelletized, particularly the drying process. Nevertheless, the main phases that contribute to the ODP are the forest operations and the pellet preparation.
2020
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3355058
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