Greenhouse impact assessment of some combustible fuels with a dynamic life cycle approach

Dissertation

Johanna Kirkinen

Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles

Abstract

Climate change mitigation requires steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. New sustainable solutions to provide low-carbon energy production will be needed. In this thesis the greenhouse impacts of some combustible fuels were comprehensively assessed using Life Cycle Assessment. A dynamic analysis method called Relative Radiative Forcing Commitment was developed in order to provide clear, unambiguous data to inform effective climate change mitigation strategies. RRFC gives a dynamic approach to greenhouse impacts and demonstrates their significance. The greenhouse impacts of a variety of fuels were assessed: peat, coal, forest residues and reed canary grass, together with different diesels - Fischer-Tropsch (from peat and forest residues), Jatropha and fossil crude oil. Biomass-derived fuels are considered as one way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the past, they were often held to be carbon-neutral fuels. However, all biogenic fuels considered in this thesis have a warming impact on the climate, as their production requires fossil fuel inputs, and in addition, land use emissions from changing carbon pools may have large effect on the total greenhouse impact. If raw materials for fuel are produced by cultivation, the manufacture and use of fertilisers may be of great importance. If global warming is to be halted at the level of 2 to 3 °C degrees Celsius, deep emission reductions will have to occur during the next decades. The RRFC of coal is about 180 over 100 years, thus if 1 MJ of coal is used for energy, the energy absorbed into the global atmosphere-surface system warms the globe by 180 MJ. Warming occurs due to the radiative forcing caused by concentration increases due to greenhouse gas emissions. The use of forest residues and reed canary grass for energy has one of the lowest greenhouse impacts, causing only about a tenth of the impact of coal. Natural gas has a greenhouse impact nearly one third lower than coal. The greenhouse impact of using peat for energy depends strongly on the type of peatland used of peat production, resulting in a lower or higher greenhouse impact than coal.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor Degree
Awarding Institution
  • Åbo Akademi University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Savolainen, I., Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Apr 2010
Place of PublicationEspoo
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-951-38-7387-5
Electronic ISBNs978-951-38-7388-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fingerprint

life cycle
coal
peat
greenhouse gas
radiative forcing
energy
carbon
warming
grass
dynamic analysis
peatland
fossil fuel
crude oil
impact assessment
global warming
natural gas
fertilizer
fossil
land use
atmosphere

Keywords

  • greenhouse gas
  • emission
  • greenhouse impact
  • fuel
  • energy
  • carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • nitrous oxide
  • radiative forcing
  • global warming potential
  • life cycle

Cite this

Kirkinen, J. (2010). Greenhouse impact assessment of some combustible fuels with a dynamic life cycle approach: Dissertation. Espoo: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Kirkinen, Johanna. / Greenhouse impact assessment of some combustible fuels with a dynamic life cycle approach : Dissertation. Espoo : VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2010. 108 p.
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abstract = "Climate change mitigation requires steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. New sustainable solutions to provide low-carbon energy production will be needed. In this thesis the greenhouse impacts of some combustible fuels were comprehensively assessed using Life Cycle Assessment. A dynamic analysis method called Relative Radiative Forcing Commitment was developed in order to provide clear, unambiguous data to inform effective climate change mitigation strategies. RRFC gives a dynamic approach to greenhouse impacts and demonstrates their significance. The greenhouse impacts of a variety of fuels were assessed: peat, coal, forest residues and reed canary grass, together with different diesels - Fischer-Tropsch (from peat and forest residues), Jatropha and fossil crude oil. Biomass-derived fuels are considered as one way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the past, they were often held to be carbon-neutral fuels. However, all biogenic fuels considered in this thesis have a warming impact on the climate, as their production requires fossil fuel inputs, and in addition, land use emissions from changing carbon pools may have large effect on the total greenhouse impact. If raw materials for fuel are produced by cultivation, the manufacture and use of fertilisers may be of great importance. If global warming is to be halted at the level of 2 to 3 °C degrees Celsius, deep emission reductions will have to occur during the next decades. The RRFC of coal is about 180 over 100 years, thus if 1 MJ of coal is used for energy, the energy absorbed into the global atmosphere-surface system warms the globe by 180 MJ. Warming occurs due to the radiative forcing caused by concentration increases due to greenhouse gas emissions. The use of forest residues and reed canary grass for energy has one of the lowest greenhouse impacts, causing only about a tenth of the impact of coal. Natural gas has a greenhouse impact nearly one third lower than coal. The greenhouse impact of using peat for energy depends strongly on the type of peatland used of peat production, resulting in a lower or higher greenhouse impact than coal.",
keywords = "greenhouse gas, emission, greenhouse impact, fuel, energy, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, radiative forcing, global warming potential, life cycle",
author = "Johanna Kirkinen",
note = "Project code: 11964",
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language = "English",
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publisher = "VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland",
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Greenhouse impact assessment of some combustible fuels with a dynamic life cycle approach : Dissertation. / Kirkinen, Johanna.

Espoo : VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2010. 108 p.

Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles

TY - THES

T1 - Greenhouse impact assessment of some combustible fuels with a dynamic life cycle approach

T2 - Dissertation

AU - Kirkinen, Johanna

N1 - Project code: 11964

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - Climate change mitigation requires steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. New sustainable solutions to provide low-carbon energy production will be needed. In this thesis the greenhouse impacts of some combustible fuels were comprehensively assessed using Life Cycle Assessment. A dynamic analysis method called Relative Radiative Forcing Commitment was developed in order to provide clear, unambiguous data to inform effective climate change mitigation strategies. RRFC gives a dynamic approach to greenhouse impacts and demonstrates their significance. The greenhouse impacts of a variety of fuels were assessed: peat, coal, forest residues and reed canary grass, together with different diesels - Fischer-Tropsch (from peat and forest residues), Jatropha and fossil crude oil. Biomass-derived fuels are considered as one way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the past, they were often held to be carbon-neutral fuels. However, all biogenic fuels considered in this thesis have a warming impact on the climate, as their production requires fossil fuel inputs, and in addition, land use emissions from changing carbon pools may have large effect on the total greenhouse impact. If raw materials for fuel are produced by cultivation, the manufacture and use of fertilisers may be of great importance. If global warming is to be halted at the level of 2 to 3 °C degrees Celsius, deep emission reductions will have to occur during the next decades. The RRFC of coal is about 180 over 100 years, thus if 1 MJ of coal is used for energy, the energy absorbed into the global atmosphere-surface system warms the globe by 180 MJ. Warming occurs due to the radiative forcing caused by concentration increases due to greenhouse gas emissions. The use of forest residues and reed canary grass for energy has one of the lowest greenhouse impacts, causing only about a tenth of the impact of coal. Natural gas has a greenhouse impact nearly one third lower than coal. The greenhouse impact of using peat for energy depends strongly on the type of peatland used of peat production, resulting in a lower or higher greenhouse impact than coal.

AB - Climate change mitigation requires steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. New sustainable solutions to provide low-carbon energy production will be needed. In this thesis the greenhouse impacts of some combustible fuels were comprehensively assessed using Life Cycle Assessment. A dynamic analysis method called Relative Radiative Forcing Commitment was developed in order to provide clear, unambiguous data to inform effective climate change mitigation strategies. RRFC gives a dynamic approach to greenhouse impacts and demonstrates their significance. The greenhouse impacts of a variety of fuels were assessed: peat, coal, forest residues and reed canary grass, together with different diesels - Fischer-Tropsch (from peat and forest residues), Jatropha and fossil crude oil. Biomass-derived fuels are considered as one way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the past, they were often held to be carbon-neutral fuels. However, all biogenic fuels considered in this thesis have a warming impact on the climate, as their production requires fossil fuel inputs, and in addition, land use emissions from changing carbon pools may have large effect on the total greenhouse impact. If raw materials for fuel are produced by cultivation, the manufacture and use of fertilisers may be of great importance. If global warming is to be halted at the level of 2 to 3 °C degrees Celsius, deep emission reductions will have to occur during the next decades. The RRFC of coal is about 180 over 100 years, thus if 1 MJ of coal is used for energy, the energy absorbed into the global atmosphere-surface system warms the globe by 180 MJ. Warming occurs due to the radiative forcing caused by concentration increases due to greenhouse gas emissions. The use of forest residues and reed canary grass for energy has one of the lowest greenhouse impacts, causing only about a tenth of the impact of coal. Natural gas has a greenhouse impact nearly one third lower than coal. The greenhouse impact of using peat for energy depends strongly on the type of peatland used of peat production, resulting in a lower or higher greenhouse impact than coal.

KW - greenhouse gas

KW - emission

KW - greenhouse impact

KW - fuel

KW - energy

KW - carbon dioxide

KW - methane

KW - nitrous oxide

KW - radiative forcing

KW - global warming potential

KW - life cycle

M3 - Dissertation

SN - 978-951-38-7387-5

T3 - VTT Publications

PB - VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

CY - Espoo

ER -

Kirkinen J. Greenhouse impact assessment of some combustible fuels with a dynamic life cycle approach: Dissertation. Espoo: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2010. 108 p.