Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Valuation of Biochar Production: Two Case Studies in Belgium
Author(s)Rajabi Hamedani, Sara; Kuppens, Tom; Malina, Robert; Bocci, Enrico; Colantoni, Andrea; Villarini, Mauro; ... Show more Show less
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It is unclear whether the production of biochar is economically feasible. As a consequence, firms do not often invest in biochar production plants. However, biochar production and application might be desirable from a societal perspective as it might entail net environmental benefits. Hence, the aim of this work has been to assess and monetize the environmental impacts of biochar production systems so that the environmental aspects can be integrated with the economic and social ones later on to quantify the total return for society. Therefore, a life cycle analysis (LCA) has been performed for two potential biochar production systems in Belgium based on two different feedstocks: (i) willow and (ii) pig manure. First, the environmental impacts of the two biochar production systems are assessed from a life cycle perspective, assuming one ton of biochar as the functional unit. Therefore, LCA using SimaPro software has been performed both on the midpoint and endpoint level. Biochar production from willow achieves better results compared to biochar from pig manure for all environmental impact categories considered. In a second step, monetary valuation has been applied to the LCA results in order to weigh environmental benefits against environmental costs using the Ecotax, Ecovalue, and Stepwise approach. Consequently, sensitivity analysis investigates the impact of variation in NPK savings and byproducts of the biochar production process on monetized life cycle assessment results. As a result, it is suggested that biochar production from willow is preferred to biochar production from pig manure from an environmental point of view. In future research, those monetized environmental impacts will be integrated within existing techno-economic models that calculate the financial viability from an investor’s point of view, so that the total return for society can be quantified and the preferred biochar production system from a societal point of view can be identified.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment
Rajabi Hamedani, Sara et al. "Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Valuation of Biochar Production: Two Case Studies in Belgium." Energies (June 2019): 2166 © 2019 The Authors
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