Miscanthus production and processing in Ireland: An analysis of energy requirements and environmental impacts

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Title: Miscanthus production and processing in Ireland: An analysis of energy requirements and environmental impacts
Authors: Murphy, Fionnuala
Devlin, Ger
McDonnell, Kevin
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5971
Date: Jul-2013
Online since: 2014-09-30T09:09:26Z
Abstract: The environmental impact of bioenergy supply systems can be determined using life cycle assessment methodologies. This study focuses on the impact of production of Miscanthus pellets and briquettes, potentially used to satisfy renewable energy requirements in Ireland. The impact categories considered are particularly important when assessing bioenergy systems; global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, and energy demand. The scope of the study incorporates Miscanthus cultivation, harvest, processing and transport to a biomass distributor. The aim of the research is to evaluate the effects of changes in keys variables on the overall environmental impacts of the system. The scenarios examined include replacement of synthetic fertilisers with biosolids, Miscanthus processing by pelleting and briquetting, and transport distances of 50 and 100 km. Results indicate that maintenance and processing of the Miscanthus crop have the most environmental impacts with transport having less of an effect. Replacing synthetic fertiliser with biosolids results in a reduction in global warming potential of 23–33% and energy demand of 12–18%, but raises both acidification and eutrophication potential by 290–400% and 258–300%, respectively. Pelleting of Miscanthus requires more energy than briquetting, hence has higher impacts in each category assessed. Increasing the transport distance from 50 to 100 km, results in a small increase in each impact category. Miscanthus briquette production compares favourably with wood pellet, kerosene, and coal production, with Miscanthus pelleting proving more environmentally damaging.
Funding Details: Science Foundation Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume: 23
Issue: 2013
Start page: 412
End page: 420
Copyright (published version): 2013 Elsevier
Keywords: Life cycle assessmentEnergy demandGreenhouse gas emissionsBioenergyMiscanthus sinensisXgiganteus
DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2013.01.058
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Biosystems and Food Engineering Research Collection

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