Universiteit Leiden

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Development of life cycle assessment for residue-based bioenergy

Promotores: Prof.dr.G.R. de Snoo and Dr. R. Heijungs

E.I. Wiloso
29 oktober 2015
Thesis in Leiden Repository

The overall framework of the thesis is to develop an approach to compare the impacts between leaving biomass residues in fields and utilizing them for bioenergy. In this regard, residue-based bioenergy should be managed differently from product-based bioenergy. The objectives of this thesis are to identify the key issues when conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA) of residue-based bioenergy and to propose improvement in LCA procedures, specifically in the areas of life cycle inventory (LCI), life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), and methodological choices in the comparative LCA. It was discovered that the key issues associated with residue-based bioenergy relate to four primary characteristics with respect to its raw materials (biomass residues), i.e., excessive removal from plantation fields which can affect soil fertility; valuation (relative to biomass products); competing uses (bioenergy, feed, fiber, fertilizers); and treatment of biogenic carbon (assumptions of carbon neutrality vs. complete inventory). These unique features require specific LCA approaches which vary from those of conventional product-based bioenergy. These approaches include: [1] solutions to the existing dissimilar practices in the LCI of biogenic carbon; [2] an LCIA method of removing biomass residues from soil on biomass productivity; and [3] methodological choices in comparative LCA of biomass residues utilization.

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