The production of wood pellets has grown considerably in the last decades. Besides woody biomass, other feedstocks can be used for pellet production. Among these, miscanthus presents some advantages because, even if specifically cultivated, it requires low inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides and shows high biomass yield (up to 28 tons of dry matter ha−1 in Europe). Even if in the last years some studies evaluated the environmental impact of woody pellet production, there is no information about the environmental performances of miscanthus pellet production. In this study, the environmental impact of miscanthus pellet was evaluated using the Life Cycle Assessment approach with a cradle-to plant gate perspective. Primary data were collected in a small-medium size pelletizing plant located in Northern Italy where miscanthus is cultivated to be directly processed. The results highlight how the miscanthus pellet shows lower environmental impact compared to woody pellet, mainly due to the lower energy consumption during pelletizing. The possibility to pelletize the miscanthus biomass without any drying offsets the environmental impact related to the miscanthus cultivation for all the evaluated impact categories (except for Marine eutrophication). In detail, for global warming potential, 1 ton of miscanthus pellet shows an impact of 121.6 kg CO2 eq. (about 8% lower respect to woody pellet) while for the other evaluated impact categories the impact reduction ranges from 4 to 59%. Harvesting, which unlike the other field operations is carried out every year, is by far the main contributor to the impacts of the cultivation phase while electricity is the main contributor to the pelletizing phase.

Pellet production from miscanthus: energy and environmental assessment / A. Fusi, J. Bacenetti, A.R. Proto, D.E.A. Tedesco, D. Pessina, D. Facchinetti. - In: ENERGIES. - ISSN 1996-1073. - 14:1(2021 Jan), pp. 73.1-73.14. [10.3390/en14010073]

Pellet production from miscanthus: energy and environmental assessment

Fusi A.;Bacenetti J.;Tedesco D. E. A.;Pessina D.;Facchinetti D.
2021-01

Abstract

The production of wood pellets has grown considerably in the last decades. Besides woody biomass, other feedstocks can be used for pellet production. Among these, miscanthus presents some advantages because, even if specifically cultivated, it requires low inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides and shows high biomass yield (up to 28 tons of dry matter ha−1 in Europe). Even if in the last years some studies evaluated the environmental impact of woody pellet production, there is no information about the environmental performances of miscanthus pellet production. In this study, the environmental impact of miscanthus pellet was evaluated using the Life Cycle Assessment approach with a cradle-to plant gate perspective. Primary data were collected in a small-medium size pelletizing plant located in Northern Italy where miscanthus is cultivated to be directly processed. The results highlight how the miscanthus pellet shows lower environmental impact compared to woody pellet, mainly due to the lower energy consumption during pelletizing. The possibility to pelletize the miscanthus biomass without any drying offsets the environmental impact related to the miscanthus cultivation for all the evaluated impact categories (except for Marine eutrophication). In detail, for global warming potential, 1 ton of miscanthus pellet shows an impact of 121.6 kg CO2 eq. (about 8% lower respect to woody pellet) while for the other evaluated impact categories the impact reduction ranges from 4 to 59%. Harvesting, which unlike the other field operations is carried out every year, is by far the main contributor to the impacts of the cultivation phase while electricity is the main contributor to the pelletizing phase.
life cycle assessment; lignocellulosic biofuels; miscanthus; pellets;
Settore AGR/09 - Meccanica Agraria
ENERGIES
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/843956
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