Advertisement

An environmental and economic analysis of the wood-pellet chain: two case studies in Southern Italy

  • Maria Pergola
  • Amalia Gialdini
  • Giuseppe Celano
  • Marina Basile
  • Donatella Caniani
  • Mario Cozzi
  • Tiziana Gentilesca
  • Ignazio M. Mancini
  • Vittoria Pastore
  • Severino Romano
  • Gennaro Ventura
  • Francesco Ripullone
Wood and Other Renewable Resources

Abstract

Purpose

Wood pellet heating systems are considered as an essential component of European plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The goal of this analysis was to estimate and compare the environmental impacts and the costs of the production of packed wood pellets. Two pellet production systems, using roundwood logs (case 1) and mainly sawdust (case 2), have been analysed in 2015 in Basilicata region (Southern Italy).

Methods

A life cycle assessment (LCA) analysis was applied to calculate the environmental impact indicators of each system, whilst a life cycle cost (LCC) analysis was implemented to evaluate the pellets’ cost production. Hence, the functional unit chosen was 1 t of produced pellets. The system boundaries considered for the purpose of the current investigation were from the tree felling to the pellet packaging. In particular, the following activities were considered: motor-manual felling and delimbing with a chainsaw, timber yarding with a tractor along the forest track, loading and transportation of the logs to the collection point, transportation of timber to the factories for a distance of 35 km, pellet production and pellet packaging in low-density polyethylene bags with a total weight of 15 kg bag−1.

Results and discussion

The production of 1 t of pellets emitted about 83 kg of CO2eq in case 1 and 38 kg in case 2. In addition, 2.7 kg of SO2eq and 0.005 kg of PO3 4-eq were produced in case 1 and 1.4 kg of SO2eq and 0.002 kg of PO3 4-eq in case 2. Mineral extraction was equal to 0.9 MJ surplus energy in both cases. Case 1 led to higher environmental impacts (about 50% more), essentially for the operation of pelletisation, and in particular for the higher consumption of electricity that characterised it, whereas the production costs were 172 and 113 € t−1 in case 1 and case 2, respectively. In both study cases, consumption costs (costs for raw material, electricity consumption, fuel usage) were the most important cost items.

Conclusions

Our studies highlight how, in both cases, the operations carried out in the forest produced the minor part of the environmental impact but, at the same time, were the most expensive operations. Further, our studies show how mixing lumbering by-products (sawdust) and forest management products (lumbers) can be an efficient solution to reduce both manufacturing costs and environmental impacts to produce wood pellets.

Keywords

Bio-economy Climate change LCA LCC Sustainable forestry Woody biomass residues 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was carried out in the framework of the project “Smart Basilicata”, which was approved by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (Notice MIUR n. 84/Ric 2012, PON 2007-2013 of 2 March 2012) and was co-funded with the Cohesion Fund 2007-2013 of the Basilicata Regional authority). This work was also co-financed by Regione Basilicata Government-PO FSE Basilicata 2007–2013—from sustainable forest management to market for wood product (Project n. AP/05/2013/REG 2013).

References

  1. Adams PWR, Shirley JEJ, McManus MC (2015) Comparative cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of wood pellet production with torrefaction. Appl Energy 138:367–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alivernini A, Barbati A, Merlini P, Carbone F, Corona P (2016) New forests and Kyoto Protocol carbon accounting: a case study in central Italy. Agric Ecosyst Environ 218:58–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrić I, Jamali-Zghal N, Santarelli M, Lacarrière B, Le Corre O (2015) Environmental performance assessment of retrofitting existing coal fired power plants to co-firing with biomass: carbon footprint and emergy approach. J Clean Prod 103:13–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bai Y (2009) Life cycle environmental and economic impact of using switchgrass-derived bioethanol as transport fuel. Master program graduation thesis. Netherlands UniversityGoogle Scholar
  5. Baumann H, Tillman AM (2004) The hitch hiker’s guide to LCA—an orientation in life cycle assessment methodology and application. Studentlitteratur, LundGoogle Scholar
  6. Benetto E, Jury C, Kneip G, Vázquez-Rowe I, Huck V, Minette F (2015) Life cycle assessment of heat production from grape marc pellets. J Clean Prod 87:149–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bidini G, Cotana F, Buratti C, Fantozzi F, Barbanera M (2006) Analisi del ciclo di vita del pellet da SRF attraverso misure dirette dei consumi energetici. 61° Congresso Nazionale ATI—Perugia 12–15 SettembreGoogle Scholar
  8. Brandão M, Clift R, Milà i Canals L, Basson L (2010) A life-cycle approach to characterising environmental and economic impacts of multifunctional land-use systems: an integrated assessment in the UK. Sustainability 2:3747–3776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dinca C, Badea A, Marculescu C, Gheorghe C (2014) Environmental analysis of biomass combustion process [cited 2014 Oct 31]. In: Perlovsky L, Dionysiou DD, Zadeh LA, Kostic MM, Gonzales CC et al (eds) Energy problems and environmental engineering [Internet]: Proceedings of the 3rd WSEAS International Conference on Energy Planning, Energy Saving, Environmental Education (EPESE ‘09); 2009 Jul 1e3, WSEAS Press, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, 2009, pp. 234e238. Available from, http://www.wseas.us/books/2009/lalaguna/EPREWA.pdf
  10. ETA Florence (2016) Il mercato del pellet in Italia. Energie Rinnovabili. Available on: http://www.pelletsnews.it/it/speciali/130-mercato-pellet-italia.html
  11. European Commission (2008) Due volte 20 per il 2020. L’opportunità del cambiamento climatico perl’Europa. Available on :http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2008:0030:FIN:IT:PDF
  12. EU Directive (2009) 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC. 2009Google Scholar
  13. Fantozzi F, Buratti C (2010) Life cycle assessment of biomass chains: wood pellet from short rotation coppice using data measured on a real plant. Biomass Bioenergy 34:1796–1804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Goedkoop M, Spriensma R (2000) Product Ecology Consultants. The Eco-indicator 99. A damage priented method for life cycle impact assessment. Methodology Report, 3rd edn. Product Ecology Consultants, PlotterwegGoogle Scholar
  15. González-García S, Feijoo G, Widsten P, Kandelbauer A, Zikulnig-Rusch E, Moreira MT (2009) Environmental performance assessment of hardboard manufacture. Int J Life Cycle Assess 14:456–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Guinée JB, Gorrée M, Heijungs R, Huppes G, Kleijn R, De Koning A, Van Oers L, Sleeswijk AW, Suh S, De Haes HAU, De Bruijn H, Van Duin R, Huijbregts MAJ, Lindeijer E, Roorda AAH, Van der Ven BL (2002) In: Guinée JB (ed) Handbook on life cycle assessment, operational guide to ISO standards. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  17. Hoefnagels R, Junginger M, Faaij A (2014) The economic potential of wood pellet production from alternative, low-value wood sources in the southeast of the U.S. Biomass Bioenergy 71:443–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Humbert S, De Schryver A, Bengoa X, Margni M, Jolliet O (2012) IMPACT 2002+: user guide. Available on: http://www.quantis-intl.com/pdf/IMPACT2002_UserGuide_for_vQ2.21.pdf
  19. International Standards Organisation, ISO 14044. Environmental management life cycle assessment—requirements and guidelines. ISO 2006Google Scholar
  20. International Standards Organisation, ISO 14040. Environmental management life cycle assessment—principles and framework. ISO 2006Google Scholar
  21. Jolliet O, Margni M, Charles R, Humbert S, Payet J, Rebitzer G, Rosenbaum R (2003) IMPACT 2002+: a new life cycle impact assessment methodology. Int J Life Cycle Assess 8(6):324–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kang HM, Choi SI, Ryu JY, Lee CK, Sato N (2013) Analysis of economic efficiency on production of wood pellet in Korea. J Fac Agric Kyushu Univ 58(1):175–181Google Scholar
  23. Kebede E, Ojumu G, Adozssi E (2013) Economic impact of wood pellet co-firing in South and West Alabama. Energy Sustain Dev 17:252–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kylili A, Christoforou E, Fokaides PA (2016) Environmental evaluation of biomass pelleting using life cycle assessment. Biomass Bioenergy 84:107–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lam HL, Varbanov P, Klemes J (2011) Regional renewable energy and resource planning. Appl Energy 88(2):545–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Laschi A, Marchi E, González-García S (2016) Environmental performance of wood pellets’ production through life cycle analysis. Energy 103:469–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ligabue S (2015) Pellet: un mercato in forte evoluzione ma l’Italia è fuori dai giochi. Available on: http://www.blogulisse.it/pellet-un-mercato-in-forte-evoluzione-ma-litalia-e-fuori-dai-giochi/
  28. Magelli F, Boucher K, Bi HT, Melin S, Bonoli A (2009) An environmental impact assessment of exported wood pellets from Canada to Europe. Biomass B33:434–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McNamee P, Adams PWR, McManus MC, Dooley B, Darvell LI, Williams A, Jones JM (2016) An assessment of the torrefaction of North American pine and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Convers Manag 113:177–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Monarca D, Cecchini M, Colantoni A (2011) Plant for the production of chips and pellet: technical and economic aspects of a case study in the central Italy. In: Murgante B, Gervasi O, Iglesias A, Taniar D, Apduhan BO (eds) Computational science and its applications: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computational Science and Applications (ICCSA 2011); 2011, Jun 20–23, vol 6785. Springer, Santander, Berlin, pp 296–306Google Scholar
  31. Monteleone B, Chiesa M, Marzuoli R, Verma VK, Schwarz M, Carlon E, Schmidl C, Ballarin Denti A (2015) Life cycle analysis of small scale pellet boilers characterized by high efficiency and low emissions. Appl Energy 155:160–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moreno Ruiz E, Weidema BP, Bauer C, Nemecek T, Vadenbo CO, Treyer K, Wernet G (2013) Documentation of changes implemented in ecoinvent Data 3.0. Ecoinvent Report 5 (v4). St. Gallen: the ecoinvent Centre. Available on: http://www.ecoinvent.org/database/database.html
  33. Murphy F, Devlin G, McDonnell K (2015) Greenhouse gas and energy based life cycle analysis of products from the Irish wood processing industry. J Clean Prod 92:134–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nishiguchi S, Tabata T (2016) Assessment of social, economic, and environmental aspects of woody biomass energy utilization: direct burning and wood pellets. Renew Sust Energ Rev 57:1279–1286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pa A, Bi XTT, Sokhansanj S (2011) A life cycle evaluation of wood pellet gasification for district heating in British Columbia. Bioresour Technol 102(10):6167–6177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pa A, Craven J, Bi X, Melin S, Sokhansanj S (2012) Environmental footprints of British Columbia wood pellets from a simplified life cycle analysis. Int J Life Cycle Assess 17(2):220–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pa A, Bi XT, Sokhansanj S (2013) Evaluation of wood pellet application for residential heating in British Columbia based on a streamlined life cycle analysis. Biomass Bioenergy 49:109–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Paolotti L, Martino G, Marchini A, Pascolini R, Boggia A (2015) Economic and environmental evaluation of transporting imported pellet: a case study. Biomass Bioenergy 83:340–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pennington DW, Margni M, Amman C, Jolliet O (2005) Spatial versus non spatial multimedia fate and exposure modeling: insights for Western Europe. Environ Sci Technol 39(4):1119–1128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Project n AP/05/2013/REG (2013) PO FSE Basilicata 2007–2013—from sustainable forest management to market for wood product, Regione Basilicata, Potenza, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  41. PRé, various authors (2015) SimaPro database manual. Methods library. Available on https://www.pre-sustainability.com/simapro-database-and-methods-library
  42. Röder M, Whittaker C, Thornley P (2015) How certain are greenhouse gas reductions from bioenergy? Life cycle assessment and uncertainty analysis of wood pellet-to electricity supply chains from forest residues. Biomass Bioenergy 79:50–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sacchelli S, Fagarazzi C, Bernetti I (2013) Economic evaluation of forest biomass production in central Italy: a scenario assessment based on spatial analysis tool. Biomass Bioenergy 53:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Scarlat N, Dallemand JF, Monforti-Ferrario F, Nita V (2015) The role of biomass and bioenergy in a future bioeconomy: policies and facts. Environ Dev 15:3–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shahrukh H, Oyedun AO, Kumar A, Ghiasi B, Kumar L, Sokhansanj S (2016) Techno-economic assessment of pellets produced from steam pretreated biomass feedstock. Biomass Bioenergy 87:131–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sikkema R, Steiner M, Junginger M, Hiegl W, Hansen MT, Faaij A (2011) The European wood pellet markets: current status and prospects for 2020. Biofuels Bioprod Biorefin 5(3):250–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sjolie HK, Solberg B (2011) Greenhouse gas emission impact of use of Norwegian wood pellets: a sensitivity analysis. Environ Sci Pol 14(8):1028–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sultana A, Kumar A (2012) Ranking of biomass pellets by integration of economic, environmental and technical factors. Biomass Bioenergy 39:344–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tabata T, Okuda T (2012) Life cycle assessment of woody biomass energy utilization: case study in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. Energy 45:944–951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Thek G, Obernberger I (2004) Wood pellet production costs under Austrian and in comparison to Swedish framework conditions. Biomass Bioenergy 27:671–693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Trømborg E, Ranta T, Schweinle J, Solberg B, Skjevrak G, Tiffany DG (2013) Economic sustainability for wood pellets production e a comparative study between Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the US. Biomass Bioenergy 57:68–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Uasuf A, Becker G (2011) Wood pellets production costs and energy consumption under different framework conditions in Northeast Argentina. Biomass Bioenergy 35:1357–1366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Upham P, Smith B (2014) Using the rapid impact assessment matrix to synthesize biofuel and bioenergy impact assessment results: the example of medium scale bioenergy heat options. J Clean Prod 65:261–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Pergola
    • 1
  • Amalia Gialdini
    • 2
  • Giuseppe Celano
    • 3
  • Marina Basile
    • 2
  • Donatella Caniani
    • 4
  • Mario Cozzi
    • 2
  • Tiziana Gentilesca
    • 2
  • Ignazio M. Mancini
    • 4
  • Vittoria Pastore
    • 1
  • Severino Romano
    • 2
  • Gennaro Ventura
    • 2
  • Francesco Ripullone
    • 2
  1. 1.Ages s.r.l.s-Spin-off AccademicoUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly
  2. 2.Scuola di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali, Alimentari ed AmbientaliUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Farmacia (DIFARMA)Università degli Studi di SalernoFiscianoItaly
  4. 4.Scuola di IngegneriaUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly

Personalised recommendations