Assessing the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of biorefineries

Laura Sokka, Sampo Soimakallio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During the next decades there will be a growing demand for new land for food production due to population and economic growth. Simultaneously, global warming has been recognised as one of the most severe environmental problems of our time, and industrialised countries are negotiating on considerable emission cuts for the next decades. Biorefineries are considered by many as one solution for mitigation of climate change and improvement of the future security of food, chemical, forest and energy industries. Since increased use of biomass in biorefineries also implies increased use of land and auxiliary inputs, many have proposed to use by-products of food and forest industries in biorefineries. When assessing the global warming impacts of biorefineries, the setting of the spatial system boundary to include or exclude indirect impacts may significantly affect the results. In this paper, we discuss the life cycle greenhouse gas impacts of a hypothetical forest-based biorefinery by using two different approaches - attributional and consequential life cycle assessment (LCA) - to set the system boundary. The results imply that for those bio-based side-streams for which there presently exists use, the environmental benefits of diverting them to new uses as bio-fuel or bio-material are not straightforward and should be carefully and comprehensively studied before making decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLife cycle assessment of products and technologies
Subtitle of host publicationLCA Symposium
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Pages17-26
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7586-2
ISBN (Print)978-951-38-7585-5
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventSymposium on Life Cycle Assessment of Products and Technologies, LCA - Espoo, Finland
Duration: 6 Oct 20096 Oct 2009

Publication series

SeriesVTT Symposium
Number262
ISSN0357-9387

Conference

ConferenceSymposium on Life Cycle Assessment of Products and Technologies, LCA
CountryFinland
CityEspoo
Period6/10/096/10/09

Fingerprint

food industry
global warming
greenhouse gas
life cycle
chemical industry
food production
biofuel
economic growth
population growth
mitigation
decision making
climate change
biomass
forest industry
land
demand
energy industry
material
by-product

Cite this

Sokka, L., & Soimakallio, S. (2009). Assessing the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of biorefineries. In Life cycle assessment of products and technologies: LCA Symposium (pp. 17-26). Espoo: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT Symposium, No. 262
Sokka, Laura ; Soimakallio, Sampo. / Assessing the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of biorefineries. Life cycle assessment of products and technologies: LCA Symposium. Espoo : VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2009. pp. 17-26 (VTT Symposium; No. 262).
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abstract = "During the next decades there will be a growing demand for new land for food production due to population and economic growth. Simultaneously, global warming has been recognised as one of the most severe environmental problems of our time, and industrialised countries are negotiating on considerable emission cuts for the next decades. Biorefineries are considered by many as one solution for mitigation of climate change and improvement of the future security of food, chemical, forest and energy industries. Since increased use of biomass in biorefineries also implies increased use of land and auxiliary inputs, many have proposed to use by-products of food and forest industries in biorefineries. When assessing the global warming impacts of biorefineries, the setting of the spatial system boundary to include or exclude indirect impacts may significantly affect the results. In this paper, we discuss the life cycle greenhouse gas impacts of a hypothetical forest-based biorefinery by using two different approaches - attributional and consequential life cycle assessment (LCA) - to set the system boundary. The results imply that for those bio-based side-streams for which there presently exists use, the environmental benefits of diverting them to new uses as bio-fuel or bio-material are not straightforward and should be carefully and comprehensively studied before making decisions.",
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Sokka, L & Soimakallio, S 2009, Assessing the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of biorefineries. in Life cycle assessment of products and technologies: LCA Symposium. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, VTT Symposium, no. 262, pp. 17-26, Symposium on Life Cycle Assessment of Products and Technologies, LCA, Espoo, Finland, 6/10/09.

Assessing the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of biorefineries. / Sokka, Laura; Soimakallio, Sampo.

Life cycle assessment of products and technologies: LCA Symposium. Espoo : VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2009. p. 17-26 (VTT Symposium; No. 262).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific

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AB - During the next decades there will be a growing demand for new land for food production due to population and economic growth. Simultaneously, global warming has been recognised as one of the most severe environmental problems of our time, and industrialised countries are negotiating on considerable emission cuts for the next decades. Biorefineries are considered by many as one solution for mitigation of climate change and improvement of the future security of food, chemical, forest and energy industries. Since increased use of biomass in biorefineries also implies increased use of land and auxiliary inputs, many have proposed to use by-products of food and forest industries in biorefineries. When assessing the global warming impacts of biorefineries, the setting of the spatial system boundary to include or exclude indirect impacts may significantly affect the results. In this paper, we discuss the life cycle greenhouse gas impacts of a hypothetical forest-based biorefinery by using two different approaches - attributional and consequential life cycle assessment (LCA) - to set the system boundary. The results imply that for those bio-based side-streams for which there presently exists use, the environmental benefits of diverting them to new uses as bio-fuel or bio-material are not straightforward and should be carefully and comprehensively studied before making decisions.

M3 - Conference article in proceedings

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Sokka L, Soimakallio S. Assessing the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of biorefineries. In Life cycle assessment of products and technologies: LCA Symposium. Espoo: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. 2009. p. 17-26. (VTT Symposium; No. 262).