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Environmental and climate change impacts of eighteen biomass-based plants in the Alpine region : a comparative analysis
Elisa Pieratti, Alessandro Paletto, Andrea Atena, Silvia Bernardini, Mathi Palm, Dominik Patzelt, Manuela Romagnoli, Francesca Teston, Grega E. Voglar, Tine Grebenc, Nike Krajnc, Thomas Schnabel, 2020

Abstract: In the energy and climate policy commitments of the European Union, the following targets have been foreseen up to 2030: reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of 40%, improving the energy conversion efficiency of 27%, and producing 27% of the energy from renewable energy sources. Nowadays, thanks to the development of reliable and efficient technologies, several possibilities exist to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, such as wind power, solar, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass. In the Alpine region, biomass can play a key role for achieving the objectives foreseen by the EU policy strategy. In the last few years, due to the high available potentials of residues from forestry operations and sawmill processing, the Alpine region witnessed the development of centralized biomass district heating plants. The aim of the present study is to assess the environmental impacts of 18 biomass-based plants located in the Alpine region using a Life Cycle Assessment approach and to analyse the current market destination of the wood residues. The data were collected through face-to-face interviews with the stakeholders of the forest-wood supply chain (managers of biomass-based plant, sawmills, forest owners and enterprises). From the environmental point of view, the results of the Life Cycle Assessment (global climate change impact: 5-90 gCO2 MJ-1) show that the 'critical points' in the forest-wood supply chain are: the transport phase (1-54 gCO2 MJ-1) and the wood processing phase (6-36 gCO2 MJ-1). The results provided by Life Cycle Assessment can be used to increase the scientific knowledge of the environmental impacts related to the biomass conversion technology and to underline the weak points of the forest-wood supply chain. Furthermore, these results can support the decision makers in defining climate change mitigation strategies at regional and local level.
Keywords: environmental impacts, renewable energy policy, forest-wood chain, Life Cycle Assessment, Alpine region, climate change, mitigation
DiRROS - Published: 20.02.2020; Views: 209; Downloads: 98
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