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Willow Biomass as Energy Feedstock: The Effect of Habitat, Genotype and Harvest Rotation on Thermophysical Properties and Elemental Composition
Open AccessArticle

Willow Biomass Crops Are a Carbon Negative or Low-Carbon Feedstock Depending on Prior Land Use and Transportation Distances to End Users

1
Department of Environmental Resources Engineering, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
2
Department of Sustainable Resources Management, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
3
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Merced, CA 95343, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(16), 4251; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13164251
Received: 4 July 2020 / Revised: 7 August 2020 / Accepted: 11 August 2020 / Published: 17 August 2020
Few life cycle assessments (LCAs) on willow biomass production have investigated the effects of key geographically specific parameters. This study uses a spatial LCA model for willow biomass production to determine spatially explicit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy return on investment (EROI), including land use conversion from pasture and cropland or grassland. There were negative GHG emissions on 92% of the land identified as suitable for willow biomass production, indicating this system’s potential for climate change mitigation. For willow planted on cropland or pasture, life cycle GHG emissions ranged from −53.2 to −176.9 kg CO2eq Mg-1. When willow was grown on grassland the projected decrease in soil organic carbon resulted in a slightly positive GHG balance. Changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) associated with land use change, transportation distance, and willow yield had the greatest impacts on GHG emissions. Results from the uncertainty analysis exhibited large variations in GHG emissions between counties arising from differences in these parameters. The average EROI across the entire region was 19.2. Willow biomass can be a carbon negative or low-carbon energy source with a high EROI in regions with similar infrastructure, transportation distances, and growing conditions such as soil characteristics, land cover types, and climate. View Full-Text
Keywords: willow biomass; soil organic carbon; life cycle assessment; spatial analysis; greenhouse gas emissions; energy return on investment willow biomass; soil organic carbon; life cycle assessment; spatial analysis; greenhouse gas emissions; energy return on investment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, S.; Volk, T.A.; Fortier, M.-O.P. Willow Biomass Crops Are a Carbon Negative or Low-Carbon Feedstock Depending on Prior Land Use and Transportation Distances to End Users. Energies 2020, 13, 4251.

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