Life Cycle Assessment of wood pellets and bioethanol from wood residues and willow

Julie Sandilands, Daqniel Kellenberger, Ian Nicholas, Per Sieverts Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The uptake of biomass as an energy source can reduce the use of and dependence on fossil fuels in heating and transportation in New Zealand. The environmental impacts and efficiency of three biomass options; wood pellets produced from sawmill residues, and bioethanol produced from forest residues and from purpose grown-willow, are analysed using Life Cycle Assessment.
Wood pellets are a renewable energy fuel used mainly for residential heating. The production of heat from wood pellets is viable from an energy point of view, with varying efficiencies depending on the type of fuel used to dry timber at the sawmill.
Heat from wood pellets has a significantly lower global warming potential than the production of heat from a heat pump. Bioethanol from wood is a renewable fuel that can be used as a partial substitute to petrol in transportation. The production of bioethanol is viable from an energy point of view, as approximately 4.8 MJ and 3.7 MJ of bioethanol are produced from willow and forest residues respectively, for every 1 MJ of input energy.
The use of bioethanol as a partial substitute of petrol reduces the global warming potential and non-renewable energy use of the fuel. The uptake of wood pellets for heating and bioethanol as a fuel for transportation would help reduce fossil fuel use in New Zealand.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Forestry
Volume53
Pages (from-to)25-33
ISSN1174-7986
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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