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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Climate Impact of Willow Grown for Bioenergy in Sweden

Hammar, Torun; Ericsson, Niclas; Hansson, Per-Anders; Sundberg, Cecilia


Short-rotation coppice willow (SRCW) is a fast-growing and potentially high-yielding energy crop. Transition to bioenergy has been identified in Sweden as one strategy to mitigate climate change and decrease the current dependency on fossil fuel. In this study, life cycle assessment was used to evaluate and compare the climate impacts of SRCW systems, for the purpose of evaluating key factors influencing the climate change mitigation potential of SRCW grown on agricultural land in Sweden. Seven different scenarios were defined and analysed to identify the factors with the most influence on the climate. A carbon balance model was used to model carbon fluxes between soil, biomass and atmosphere under Swedish growing conditions. The results indicated that SRCW can act as a temporary carbon sink and therefore has a mitigating effect on climate change. The most important factor in obtaining a high climate change-mitigating effect was shown to be high yield. Low yield gave the worst mitigating effect of the seven scenarios, but it was still better than the effect of the reference systems, district heating produced from coal or natural gas.


Short-rotation coppice willow (SRCW); Life cycle assessment (LCA); Soil organic carbon (SOC); Greenhouse gas (GHG); Salix

Published in

BioEnergy Research
2014, Volume: 7, number: 4, pages: 1529-1540