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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Review of methodological choices in LCA of biorefinery systems - key issues and recommendations

Ahlgren, Serina; Björklund, Anna; Ekman, Anna; Karlsson, Hanna; Berlin, Johanna; Börjesson, Pål; Ekvall, Tomas; Finnveden, Göran; Janssen, Matty; Strid, Ingrid

Abstract

The current trend in biomass conversion technologies is toward more efficient utilization of biomass feedstock in multiproduct biorefineries. Many life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies of biorefinery systems have been performed but differ in how they use the LCA methodology. Based on a review of existing LCA standards and guidelines, this paper provides recommendations on how to handle key methodological issues when performing LCA studies of biorefinery systems. Six key issues were identified: (i) goal definition, (ii) functional unit, (iii) allocation of biorefinery outputs, (iv) allocation of biomass feedstock, (v) land use, and (vi) biogenic carbon and timing of emissions. Many of the standards and guidelines reviewed here provide only general methodological recommendations. Some make more specific methodological recommendations, but these often differ between standards. In this paper we present some clarifications (e.g. examples of research questions and suitable functional units) and methodological recommendations (e.g. on allocation). (C) 2015 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Keywords

biorefinery; life cycle assessment; functional unit; allocation; land use; biogenic carbon; review

Published in

Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
2015, volume: 9, number: 5, pages: 606-619
Publisher: WILEY-BLACKWELL

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Björklund, Anna
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Ekman, Anna
Lund University
Karlsson, Hanna (Karlsson Potter, Hanna)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Berlin, Johanna
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
Börjesson, Pål
Lund University
Ekvall, Tomas
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Finnveden, Göran
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Janssen, Matty
Chalmers University of Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/bbb.1563

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/73768