Energy requirements and environmental impacts associated with the production of short rotation willow (Salix sp.) chip in Ireland

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
FM1.pdf1.14 MBAdobe PDFDownload
Title: Energy requirements and environmental impacts associated with the production of short rotation willow (Salix sp.) chip in Ireland
Authors: Murphy, Fionnuala
Devlin, Ger
McDonnell, Kevin
Permanent link:
Date: 11-Sep-2013
Online since: 2014-09-30T08:33:42Z
Abstract: Willow Salix sp. is currently cultivated as a short rotation forestry crop in Ireland as a source of biomass to contribute to renewable energy goals. The aim of this study is to evaluate the energy requirements and environmental impacts associated with willow (Salix sp.) cultivation, harvest, and transport using life cycle assessment (LCA). In this study, only emissions from the production of the willow chip are included, end-use emissions from combustion are not considered. In this LCA study, three impact categories are considered; acidification potential, eutrophication potential and global warming potential. In addition, the cumulative energy demand and energy ratio of the system are evaluated. The results identify three key processes in the production chain which contribute most to all impact categories considered; maintenance, harvest and transportation of the crop. Sensitivity analysis on the type of fertilizers used, harvesting technologies and transport distances highlights the effects of these management techniques on overall system performance. Replacement of synthetic fertilizer with biosolids results in a reduction in overall energy demand, but raises acidification potential, eutrophication potential and global warming potential. Rod harvesting compares unfavourably in comparison with direct chip harvesting in each of the impact categories considered due to the additional chipping step required. The results show that dedicated truck transport is preferable to tractor-trailer transport in terms of energy demand and environmental impacts. Finally, willow chip production compares favourably with coal provision in terms of energy ratio and global warming potential, while achieving a higher energy ratio than peat provision but also a higher global warming potential.
Funding Details: Science Foundation Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley
Journal: Global Change Biology Bioenergy
Volume: 6
Start page: 727
End page: 739
Copyright (published version): 2013 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd
Keywords: BioenergyBiological fertilizerEnergy ratio/requirementsEnvironmental impactsIrelandLCAShort rotation coppice willowBioenergyBiological fertilizerEnergy ratio/requirementsEnvironmental impactsIrelandLCAShort rotationcoppice willow
DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12111
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Biosystems and Food Engineering Research Collection

Show full item record

Citations 20

Last Week
Last month
checked on Feb 11, 2019

Google ScholarTM



This item is available under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland. No item may be reproduced for commercial purposes. For other possible restrictions on use please refer to the publisher's URL where this is made available, or to notes contained in the item itself. Other terms may apply.