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Primary Energy and Climate Change Effects of Forest Residues and Fossil Coal for Electricity Production with and without Carbon Capture and Storage


Truong, N.L., Gustavsson, L., Sathre, R.


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Forest biomass that is currently unused, such as thinning and harvest residues, could be mobilized to produce bioelectricity, to mitigate climate change. An emerging technology for climate change mitigation is carbon capture and storage (CCS), which can reduce CO2 emissions from energy conversion facilities, but at a cost of additional fuel needed for process energy requirements. The use of forest residues that otherwise would decay on the forest floor, in an energy plant equipped with CCS, could result in a net reduction of CO2 emission to the atmosphere, while producing usable electricity. In this study, we analyse the climate change effects of using either coal or forest residues to produce electricity in large-scale conversion plants. We estimate the primary energy use, annual CO2 emission, annual change in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and cumulative radiative forcing (CRF) of different energy systems that all produce the same quantity of electricity. We also consider the potential effects of future technology developments including gasification and integrated carbon capture processes. The results show that using forest residues to replace coal with current conversion technologies slightly increase the combustion CO2 emission, but in the long term give much lower net CO2 emission and mitigate climate change. The application of emerging gasification technology reduces primary energy use and CO2 emission compared to current technology, and hence increases the climate benefits. The use of CCS requires larger quantities of fuel, but could strongly reduce the CO2 emissions from conversion facilities, thus increasing the carbon benefits per unit of forest biomass used.


forest residues, carbon capture and storage, radiative forcing, fuel substitution, primary energy use


Biomass Policies, Markets and Sustainability


Environmental impacts of bioenergy


24th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition




1394 - 1401



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