Carbon balance indicator for forest bioenergy scenarios

Kim Pingoud, Tommi Ekholm, Sampo Soimakallio, Tuomas Helin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A carbon (C) balance indicator is presented for the evaluation of forest bioenergy scenarios as a means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A bioenergy-intensive scenario with a greater harvest is compared to a baseline scenario. The relative carbon indicator (RC) is defined as the ratio between the difference in terrestrial C stocks - i.e. the C debt - and the difference in cumulative bioenergy harvest between the scenarios, over a selected timeframe T. A value of zero indicates no C debt from additional biomass harvests, while a value of one indicates a C debt equal to the amount of additionally harvested biomass C. Multiplying the RC indicator by the smokestack emission factor of biomass (approximately 110 t CO2/TJ) provides the net cumulative CO2 emission factor of the biomass combustion as a function of T, allowing a direct comparison with the emission factors of comparable fossil fuels. Using the data of Asikainen et al. (2012), Sievänen et al. (2014) and Repo et al. (2012), the indicator is applied to bioenergy cases in Finland, where typically the rotation length of managed forests is long and the decay rate of harvest residues is slow. The country-level examples illustrate that although Finnish forests remain as a C sink in each of the scenarios considered, the efforts of increasing forest bioenergy may still increase the atmospheric CO2 concentrations in comparison with the baseline scenario and use of fossil fuels. The results also show that the net emission factor depends - besides on forest-growth or residue-decay dynamics - on the timing and evolution of harvests as well. Unlike for the constant fossil C emission factor, the temporal profile of bioenergy use is of great importance for the net emission factor of biomass.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
JournalGlobal Change Biology: Bioenergy
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

emissions factor
carbon balance
bioenergy
Biomass
debt
Carbon
carbon
biomass
Fossil fuels
fossil fuels
fossil fuel
deterioration
Gas emissions
Greenhouse gases
forest growth
greenhouse gas emissions
combustion
Finland
indicator
emission factor

Keywords

  • biomass emission factor
  • carbon debt
  • forest harvest residues
  • dynamics
  • steady-state
  • carbon neutrality
  • landscape level
  • baseline
  • system boundaries
  • timing of emissions

Cite this

Pingoud, K., Ekholm, T., Soimakallio, S., & Helin, T. (2016). Carbon balance indicator for forest bioenergy scenarios. Global Change Biology: Bioenergy, 8(1), 171-182. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12253
Pingoud, Kim ; Ekholm, Tommi ; Soimakallio, Sampo ; Helin, Tuomas. / Carbon balance indicator for forest bioenergy scenarios. In: Global Change Biology: Bioenergy. 2016 ; Vol. 8, No. 1. pp. 171-182.
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Pingoud, K, Ekholm, T, Soimakallio, S & Helin, T 2016, 'Carbon balance indicator for forest bioenergy scenarios', Global Change Biology: Bioenergy, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 171-182. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12253

Carbon balance indicator for forest bioenergy scenarios. / Pingoud, Kim; Ekholm, Tommi; Soimakallio, Sampo; Helin, Tuomas.

In: Global Change Biology: Bioenergy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2016, p. 171-182.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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T1 - Carbon balance indicator for forest bioenergy scenarios

AU - Pingoud, Kim

AU - Ekholm, Tommi

AU - Soimakallio, Sampo

AU - Helin, Tuomas

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N2 - A carbon (C) balance indicator is presented for the evaluation of forest bioenergy scenarios as a means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A bioenergy-intensive scenario with a greater harvest is compared to a baseline scenario. The relative carbon indicator (RC) is defined as the ratio between the difference in terrestrial C stocks - i.e. the C debt - and the difference in cumulative bioenergy harvest between the scenarios, over a selected timeframe T. A value of zero indicates no C debt from additional biomass harvests, while a value of one indicates a C debt equal to the amount of additionally harvested biomass C. Multiplying the RC indicator by the smokestack emission factor of biomass (approximately 110 t CO2/TJ) provides the net cumulative CO2 emission factor of the biomass combustion as a function of T, allowing a direct comparison with the emission factors of comparable fossil fuels. Using the data of Asikainen et al. (2012), Sievänen et al. (2014) and Repo et al. (2012), the indicator is applied to bioenergy cases in Finland, where typically the rotation length of managed forests is long and the decay rate of harvest residues is slow. The country-level examples illustrate that although Finnish forests remain as a C sink in each of the scenarios considered, the efforts of increasing forest bioenergy may still increase the atmospheric CO2 concentrations in comparison with the baseline scenario and use of fossil fuels. The results also show that the net emission factor depends - besides on forest-growth or residue-decay dynamics - on the timing and evolution of harvests as well. Unlike for the constant fossil C emission factor, the temporal profile of bioenergy use is of great importance for the net emission factor of biomass.

AB - A carbon (C) balance indicator is presented for the evaluation of forest bioenergy scenarios as a means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A bioenergy-intensive scenario with a greater harvest is compared to a baseline scenario. The relative carbon indicator (RC) is defined as the ratio between the difference in terrestrial C stocks - i.e. the C debt - and the difference in cumulative bioenergy harvest between the scenarios, over a selected timeframe T. A value of zero indicates no C debt from additional biomass harvests, while a value of one indicates a C debt equal to the amount of additionally harvested biomass C. Multiplying the RC indicator by the smokestack emission factor of biomass (approximately 110 t CO2/TJ) provides the net cumulative CO2 emission factor of the biomass combustion as a function of T, allowing a direct comparison with the emission factors of comparable fossil fuels. Using the data of Asikainen et al. (2012), Sievänen et al. (2014) and Repo et al. (2012), the indicator is applied to bioenergy cases in Finland, where typically the rotation length of managed forests is long and the decay rate of harvest residues is slow. The country-level examples illustrate that although Finnish forests remain as a C sink in each of the scenarios considered, the efforts of increasing forest bioenergy may still increase the atmospheric CO2 concentrations in comparison with the baseline scenario and use of fossil fuels. The results also show that the net emission factor depends - besides on forest-growth or residue-decay dynamics - on the timing and evolution of harvests as well. Unlike for the constant fossil C emission factor, the temporal profile of bioenergy use is of great importance for the net emission factor of biomass.

KW - biomass emission factor

KW - carbon debt

KW - forest harvest residues

KW - dynamics

KW - steady-state

KW - carbon neutrality

KW - landscape level

KW - baseline

KW - system boundaries

KW - timing of emissions

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DO - 10.1111/gcbb.12253

M3 - Article

VL - 8

SP - 171

EP - 182

JO - Global Change Biology: Bioenergy

JF - Global Change Biology: Bioenergy

SN - 1757-1693

IS - 1

ER -