Canadian Forest Service Publications

Range and uncertainties in estimating delays in greenhouse gas mitigation potential of forest bioenergy sourced from Canadian forests. 2017. Laganière, J.; Paré, D.; Thiffault, E.; Bernier, P. GCB Bioenergy 9, 358-369.

Year: 2017

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36533

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12327

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Accurately assessing the delay before the substitution of fossil fuel by forest bioenergy starts having a net beneficial impact on atmospheric CO2 is becoming important as the cost of delaying GHG emission reductions is increasingly being recognised.

We documented the time to carbon (C) parity of forest bioenergy sourced from different feedstocks (harvest residues, salvaged trees and green trees), typical of forest biomass production in Canada, used to replace three fossil fuel types (coal, oil and natural gas) in heating or power generation. The time to C parity is defined as the time needed for the newly-established bioenergy system to reach the cumulative C emissions of a fossil fuel, counterfactual system. Furthermore, we estimated an uncertainty period derived from the difference in C parity time between predefined best- and worst-case scenarios, in which parameter values related to the supply chain and forest dynamics varied.

The results indicate short-to-long ranking of C parity times for residues

Plain Language Summary

This study shows that the use of biomass harvested from Canadian forests for bioenergy production could result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.

The study compared different scenarios regarding the use of biomass from Canadian forest (harvest residues, salvaged trees, green trees, etc.) to produce bioenergy. Researchers assessed the potential for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions when forest biomass is used to replace fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil). They also calculated the time required before the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions from forest bioenergy dipped below those from fossil fuels.

Researchers concluded that greenhouse gas emissions decrease more rapidly when using harvest residues. Other feedstocks take longer, and they also require close monitoring as they are associated with greater uncertainty.

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