Next Article in Journal
A Fusion Approach for Exploring the Key Factors of Corporate Governance on Corporate Social Responsibility Performance
Next Article in Special Issue
An Original Approach Combining CFD, Linearized Models, and Deformation of Trees for Urban Wind Power Assessment
Previous Article in Journal
Environment-Smart Agriculture and Mapping of Interactions among Environmental Factors at the Farm Level: A Directed Graph Approach
Previous Article in Special Issue
Security-Constrained Unit Commitment Considering Differentiated Regional Air Pollutant Intensity
Article Menu
Issue 5 (May) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1581; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051581

Methodological Issues Regarding Biofuels and Carbon Uptake

University of Michigan Energy Institute, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 15 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [500 KB, uploaded 21 May 2018]   |  

Abstract

Questions regarding the net effect of biofuels on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been difficult to resolve because of methodological uncertainties. One method of choice is lifecycle assessment (LCA), which takes a fuel product system as its object of analysis. LCA uses a static system model, with carbon flows averaged over a defined “lifecycle”. Although it may evaluate some carbon stock changes, the LCA convention of treating biogenic CO2 emissions as fully offset by the carbon embodied in a biofuel’s feedstock renders its results independent of the dominant portion of carbon uptake on the land from which the feedstock is sourced. An application of material flow analysis termed annual basis carbon (ABC) accounting captures system dynamics and is fully sensitive to changes in carbon uptake. This paper compares the LCA and ABC methods, and contrasts their respective results for a case study of real-world biofuel production. It highlights the large impact of baseline carbon uptake, which can affect the sign of the results from either a likely decrease or a likely increase in net CO2 emissions even before considering economically-induced effects. Implications include the need for further methodological work, new program-scale model development, an empirical re-analysis of biofuel systems, and a reconsideration of existing public policies and research priorities. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon; emissions; biofuels; fuels; energy; climate; lifecycle analysis; methodology carbon; emissions; biofuels; fuels; energy; climate; lifecycle analysis; methodology
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

DeCicco, J.M. Methodological Issues Regarding Biofuels and Carbon Uptake. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1581.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top