Willow Biomass Crops Are a Carbon Negative or Low-Carbon Feedstock Depending on Prior Land Use and Transportation Distances to End Users

Sheng Yang, Timothy A. Volk, Marie-Odile P. Fortier
2020 Energies  
Few life cycle assessments (LCAs) on willow biomass production have investigated the effects of key geographically specific parameters. This study uses a spatial LCA model for willow biomass production to determine spatially explicit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy return on investment (EROI), including land use conversion from pasture and cropland or grassland. There were negative GHG emissions on 92% of the land identified as suitable for willow biomass production, indicating this
more » ... stem's potential for climate change mitigation. For willow planted on cropland or pasture, life cycle GHG emissions ranged from −53.2 to −176.9 kg CO2eq Mg-1. When willow was grown on grassland the projected decrease in soil organic carbon resulted in a slightly positive GHG balance. Changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) associated with land use change, transportation distance, and willow yield had the greatest impacts on GHG emissions. Results from the uncertainty analysis exhibited large variations in GHG emissions between counties arising from differences in these parameters. The average EROI across the entire region was 19.2. Willow biomass can be a carbon negative or low-carbon energy source with a high EROI in regions with similar infrastructure, transportation distances, and growing conditions such as soil characteristics, land cover types, and climate.
doi:10.3390/en13164251 fatcat:3ibnv2basbdmpketsitrpjsa5a