This review on research on life cycle carbon accounting examines the complexities in accounting for carbon emissions given the many different ways that wood is used. Recent objectives to increase the use of renewable fuels have raised policy questions, with respect to the sustainability of managing our forests as well as the impacts of how best to use wood from our forests. There has been general support for the benefits of sustainably managing forests for carbon mitigation as expressed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.
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A working paper review of current approaches to accounting for indirect land-use changes in green house gas balances of biofuels. This report reviews the current effort made worldwide to address this issue. A
description of land-use concepts is first provided (Section 2) followed by a classification of
ILUC sources (Section 3). Then, a discussion on the implications of including ILUC
emissions in the GHG balance of biofuel pathways (Section 4) and a review of methodologies
being developed to quantify indirect land-use change (Section 5) are presented. Section 6
Agricultural activities have dramatically altered our planet?s land surface. To understand the extent and spatial distribution of these changes, we have developed a new global data set of croplands and pastures circa 2000 by combining agricultural inventory data and satellite-derived land cover data. The agricultural inventory data, with much greater spatial detail than previously available, is used to train a land cover classification data set obtained by merging two different satellite-derived products (Boston University?s MODIS-derived land cover product and the GLC2000 data set).
Growing concern about climate change and energy security has led to increasing interest in developing renewable, domestic energy sources for meeting electricity, heating and fuel needs in the United States. Illinois has significant potential to produce bioenergy crops, including corn, soybeans, miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). However, land requirements for bioenergy crops place them in competition with more traditional agricultural uses, in particular food production.
Fertilizers used to increase the yield of crops used for food or bio-based products can migrate through the environment and potentially cause adverse environmental impacts. Nitrogen fertilizers have a complex biogeochemical cycle. Through their transformations and partitioning among environmental compartments, they can contribute to eutrophication of surface waters at local and regional scales, groundwater degradation, acid rain, and climate change.
Land-use change models are important tools for integrated environmental management. Through scenario analysis they can help to identify near-future critical locations in the face of environmental change. A dynamic, spatially explicit, land-use change model is presented for the regional scale: CLUE-S. The model is specifically developed for the analysis of land use in small regions (e.g., a watershed or province) at a fine spatial resolution.
A series of life cycle assessments (LCA) have been conducted on biomass, coal, and natural gas systems in order to quantify the environmental benefits and drawbacks of each. The power generation options that were studied are: (1) a biomass-fired integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) system using a biomass energy crop, (2) a direct-fired biomass power plant using biomass residue, (3) a pulverized coal (PC) boiler representing an average U.S. coal-fired power plant, (4) a system cofiring biomass residue with coal, and (5) a natural gas combined cycle power plant.
An analysis was performed at NREL to examine the global warming potential and energy balance of power generation from fossil and biomass systems including CO2 sequestration. To get the true environmental picture, a life cycle approach, which takes into account upstream process steps, was applied. Each system maintained the same constant generating capacity and any lost capacity due to CO2 sequestration was accounted for by adding power generation from a natural gas combined-cycle system. This paper discusses the systems examined and gives the net energy and GWP for each system.
The generation of electricity, and the consumption of energy in general, often result in adverse effects on the environment. Coal-fired power plants generate over half of the electricity used in the U.S., and therefore play a significant role in any discussion of energy and the environment. By cofiring biomass, currently-operating coal plants have an opportunity to reduce the impact they have, but to what degree, and with what trade-offs? A life cycle assessment (LCA) has been conducted on a coal-fired power system that cofires wood residue.
It is technically feasible to capture CO2 from the flue gas of a coal-fired power plant and various researchers are working to understand the fate of sequestered CO2 and its long term environmental effects. Sequestering CO2 significantly reduces the CO2 emissions from the power plant itself, but this is not the total picture.
This report discusses the development of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimates for the production of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) derived fuels (in particular, FT diesel), makes comparisons of these estimates to reported literature values for petroleum-derived diesel, and outlines strategies for substantially reducing these emissions.
Coal has the largest share of utility power generation in the U.S., accounting for approximately 56% of all utility-produced electricity (U.S. DOE, 1998). Therefore, understanding the environmental implications of producing electricity from coal is an important component of any plan to reduce total emissions and resource consumption.
It has become widely accepted that biomass power offers opportunities for reduced environmental impacts compared to fossil fuel-based systems. Intuitively obvious are the facts that per kilowatt-hour of energy produced, biomass systems will emit less CO2 and consume less non-renewable energy.
A life cycle assessment (LCA) of different coal-fired boiler systems was performed at NREL in collaboration with the Federal Energy Technology Center. Three designs were examined to evaluate the environmental aspects of current and future coal systems.
Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute that can be made by chemically combining any natural oil or fat with an alcohol such as methanol or ethanol. Methanol has been the most commonly used alcohol in the commercial production of biodiesel. In Europe, biodiesel is widely available in both its neat form (100% biodiesel, also known as B100) and in blends with petroleum diesel. Most European biodiesel is made from rapeseed oil (a cousin of canola oil).
Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute. It can be made from a variety of natural oils and fats. Biodiesel is made by chemically combining any natural oil or fat with an alcohol such as methanol or ethanol. Methanol has been the most commonly used alcohol in the commercial production of biodiesel. In Europe, biodiesel is widely available in both its neat form (100% biodiesel, also know as B100) and in blends with petroleum diesel. European biodiesel is made predominantly from rapeseed oil (a cousin of canola oil).
A life cycle assessment (LCA) on coal-fired power systems has been conducted to assess the environmental effects on a cradle-to-grave basis. Three different designs were studied: (1) a plant that represents the average emissions from coal-fired power plants in the U.S. today, (2) a plant that meets the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), and (3) an advanced plant incorporating a low emission boiler system (LEBS).
Electric power production from biomass has the potential to make significant contributions to the power mix in the U.S., and to do so with substantially fewer environmental impacts than current technologies. Using dedicated energy crops for power production will significantly close the carbon cycle, reduce and stabilize feedstock costs, increase the feasible size of biomass power plants, and provide economic benefits to agricultural communities.
Review of the sustainability aspects and issues covered within various bioenergy initatives inclusing social, economic, and environmental aspects.
Provides a summary of the key findings of the IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources (SRREN) and Climate Change Mitigation.