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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Assessment of forest-based biofuels for Arctic marine shipping

Yacout, Dalia M. M.; Tysklind, Mats; Upadhyayula, Venkata K. K.


International shipping in the Arctic region is one of the key contributors to changes in the region due to the generated air emissions from marine fuels combustion, usage of forest-based biofuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels in marine shipping seem as an attractive alternative. However, a system analysis perspective is needed to ensure its sustainability.Life cycle assessment was used to estimate the environmental impacts of the production and use of two forest-based biofuels. These fuels, biodiesel and bioethanol, were derived from pulp and paper mills for use by marine shipping. They were compared to fossil fuels currently used by the marine shipping industry, those being Marine Gas Oil (MGO) and Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). Future projection scenarios in 2030 and 2050 for estimating the environmental impacts of a transition from fossil fuels to biofuels in Arctic shipping were studied as well.The results indicate that a holistic view is very important for biofuel use. The production and use of forest-based bioethanol (BE) had a significantly lower impact on climate change (CC) potential, but had a higher impact on Human toxicity non-cancer effects (HTX), Human toxicity cancer effects (CE), Particulate matter (PM), Photochemical ozone formation (POF), Acidification potential (AP), Terrestrial eutrophication (TE), Freshwater Eutrophication (FE), Marine eutrophication (ME) and Freshwater Ecotoxicity (FEC). Replacing HFO with forestbased biodiesel reduced the potential AP by 55%. It also had a lower impact on the categories CC, PM, POF, TE, ME and FEC. Furthermore, a reduction in emissions generated by shipping in the Arctic and a better overall environmental performance can be achieved by using blends of MGO with BE.


Forest-based biofuels; Arctic marine shipping; Life cycle assessment

Published in

Resources, Conservation and Recycling
2021, volume: 174, article number: 105763
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Yacout, Dalia M M
Umeå University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Tysklind, Mats
Umea University
Upadhyayula, Krishna
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG7 Affordable and clean energy
SDG14 Life below water
SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Renewable Bioenergy Research

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