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Energies 2017, 10(2), 260; doi:10.3390/en10020260

Switchgrass-Based Bioethanol Productivity and Potential Environmental Impact from Marginal Lands in China

1,2
,
2,3
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2,* , 2,3
and
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1
Beijing Key Laboratory of Big Data Technology for Food Safety, School of Computer and Information Engineering, Beijing Technology and Business University, No. 11 Fucheng Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100048, China
2
Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
3
College of Resource and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 19A Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert Lundmark
Received: 29 December 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract

Switchgrass displays an excellent potential to serve as a non-food bioenergy feedstock for bioethanol production in China due to its high potential yield on marginal lands. However, few studies have been conducted on the spatial distribution of switchgrass-based bioethanol production potential in China. This study created a land surface process model (Environmental Policy Integrated Climate GIS (Geographic Information System)-based (GEPIC) model) coupled with a life cycle analysis (LCA) to explore the spatial distribution of potential bioethanol production and present a comprehensive analysis of energy efficiency and environmental impacts throughout its whole life cycle. It provides a new approach to study the bioethanol productivity and potential environmental impact from marginal lands based on the high spatial resolution GIS data, and this applies not only to China, but also to other regions and to other types of energy plant. The results indicate that approximately 59 million ha of marginal land in China are suitable for planting switchgrass, and 22 million tons of ethanol can be produced from this land. Additionally, a potential net energy gain (NEG) of 1.75 x 106 million MJ will be achieved if all of the marginal land can be used in China, and Yunnan Province offers the most significant one that accounts for 35% of the total. Finally, this study obtained that the total environmental effect index of switchgrass-based bioethanol is the equivalent of a population of approximately 20,300, and a reduction in the global warming potential (GWP) is the most significant environmental impact. View Full-Text
Keywords: switchgrass; bioethanol; Environmental Policy Integrated Climate GIS (GEPIC); life cycle analysis (LCA); marginal land switchgrass; bioethanol; Environmental Policy Integrated Climate GIS (GEPIC); life cycle analysis (LCA); marginal land
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Zhang, X.; Fu, J.; Lin, G.; Jiang, D.; Yan, X. Switchgrass-Based Bioethanol Productivity and Potential Environmental Impact from Marginal Lands in China. Energies 2017, 10, 260.

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