Economic and greenhouse gas costs of Miscanthus supply chains in the United Kingdom

Shifeng Wang, Sicong Wang, Astley Francis St John Hastings, Mark Pogson, Pete Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Miscanthus has been identified as one of the most promising perennial grasses for renewable energy generation in Europe and the United States [Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 9 (2004) 433]. However, the decision to use Miscanthus depends to a considerable degree on its economic and environmental performance [Soil Use and Management 24 (2008) 235; Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13 (2009) 1230]. This article assessed the spatial distribution of the economic and greenhouse gas (GHG) costs of producing and supplying Miscanthus in the UK. The average farm-gate production cost of Miscanthus in the UK is estimated to be 40 pound per oven-dried tonne ( pound odt-1), and the average GHG emissions from the production of Miscanthus are 1.72 kg carbon equivalent per oven-dried tonnes per year (kg CE odt-1 yr-1). The production cost of Miscanthus varies from 35 to 55 pound odt-1 with the lowest production costs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the highest costs in Scotland. Sensitivity analysis shows that yield of Miscanthus is the most influential factor in its production cost, with precipitation the most crucial input in determining yield. GHG emissions from the production of Miscanthus range from 1.24 to 2.11 kg CE odt-1 yr-1. To maximize the GHG benefit, Miscanthus should be established preferentially on croplands, though other considerations obviously arise concerning suitability and value of the land for food production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalGlobal Change Biology. Bioenergy
Volume4
Issue number3
Early online date12 Sep 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • cropland
  • economic cost
  • GHG cost
  • life-cycle analysis
  • Miscanthus
  • renewable energy
  • bioenergy crops
  • X giganteus
  • UK
  • consequences
  • yield
  • soil
  • switchgrass
  • combustion
  • biomass
  • biofuel

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