Greenhouse gas emissions from four bioenergy crops in England and Wales

Integrating spatial estimates of yield and soil carbon balance in life cycle analyses

J Hillier, C Whittaker, G Dailey, M Aylott, E Casella, G M Richter, A Riche, R Murphy, G Taylor, P Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Accurate estimation of the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of bioenergy crops requires the integration of a significant component of spatially varying information. In particular, crop yield and soil carbon (C) stocks are variables which are generally soil type and climate dependent. Since gaseous emissions from soil C depend on current C stocks, which in turn are related to previous land management it is important to consider both previous and proposed future land use in any C accounting assessment. We have conducted a spatially explicit study for England and Wales, coupling empirical yield maps with the RothC soil C turnover model to simulate soil C dynamics. We estimate soil C changes under proposed planting of four bioenergy crops, Miscanthus (Miscanthus×giganteus), short rotation coppice (SRC) poplar (Populus trichocarpa Torr. & Gray ×P. trichocarpa, var. Trichobel), winter wheat, and oilseed rape. This is then related to the former land use – arable, pasture, or forest/seminatural, and the outputs are then assessed in the context of a life cycle analysis (LCA) for each crop. By offsetting emissions from management under the previous land use, and considering fossil fuel C displaced, the GHG balance is estimated for each of the 12 land use change transitions associated with replacing arable, grassland, or forest/seminatural land, with each of the four bioenergy crops. Miscanthus and SRC are likely to have a mostly beneficial impact in reducing GHG emissions, while oilseed rape and winter wheat have either a net GHG cost, or only a marginal benefit. Previous land use is important and can make the difference between the bioenergy crop being beneficial or worse than the existing land use in terms of GHG balance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-281
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Change Biology. Bioenergy
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009

Fingerprint

carbon balance
energy crops
bioenergy
Wales
greenhouse gas emissions
Gas emissions
soil carbon
Greenhouse gases
Land use
Crops
England
Life cycle
life cycle (organisms)
greenhouse gases
greenhouse gas
life cycle
land use
Soils
crop
Carbon

Keywords

  • bioenergy
  • greenhouse gas
  • LCA
  • Miscanthus
  • poplar
  • short rotation coppice

Cite this

Greenhouse gas emissions from four bioenergy crops in England and Wales : Integrating spatial estimates of yield and soil carbon balance in life cycle analyses. / Hillier, J; Whittaker, C; Dailey, G; Aylott, M; Casella, E; Richter, G M; Riche, A; Murphy, R; Taylor, G; Smith, P.

In: Global Change Biology. Bioenergy, Vol. 1, No. 4, 08.2009, p. 267-281.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hillier, J ; Whittaker, C ; Dailey, G ; Aylott, M ; Casella, E ; Richter, G M ; Riche, A ; Murphy, R ; Taylor, G ; Smith, P. / Greenhouse gas emissions from four bioenergy crops in England and Wales : Integrating spatial estimates of yield and soil carbon balance in life cycle analyses. In: Global Change Biology. Bioenergy. 2009 ; Vol. 1, No. 4. pp. 267-281.
@article{16f4405696a34640afeaf8f2462c2eca,
title = "Greenhouse gas emissions from four bioenergy crops in England and Wales: Integrating spatial estimates of yield and soil carbon balance in life cycle analyses",
abstract = "Accurate estimation of the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of bioenergy crops requires the integration of a significant component of spatially varying information. In particular, crop yield and soil carbon (C) stocks are variables which are generally soil type and climate dependent. Since gaseous emissions from soil C depend on current C stocks, which in turn are related to previous land management it is important to consider both previous and proposed future land use in any C accounting assessment. We have conducted a spatially explicit study for England and Wales, coupling empirical yield maps with the RothC soil C turnover model to simulate soil C dynamics. We estimate soil C changes under proposed planting of four bioenergy crops, Miscanthus (Miscanthus×giganteus), short rotation coppice (SRC) poplar (Populus trichocarpa Torr. & Gray ×P. trichocarpa, var. Trichobel), winter wheat, and oilseed rape. This is then related to the former land use – arable, pasture, or forest/seminatural, and the outputs are then assessed in the context of a life cycle analysis (LCA) for each crop. By offsetting emissions from management under the previous land use, and considering fossil fuel C displaced, the GHG balance is estimated for each of the 12 land use change transitions associated with replacing arable, grassland, or forest/seminatural land, with each of the four bioenergy crops. Miscanthus and SRC are likely to have a mostly beneficial impact in reducing GHG emissions, while oilseed rape and winter wheat have either a net GHG cost, or only a marginal benefit. Previous land use is important and can make the difference between the bioenergy crop being beneficial or worse than the existing land use in terms of GHG balance.",
keywords = "bioenergy, greenhouse gas, LCA, Miscanthus, poplar, short rotation coppice",
author = "J Hillier and C Whittaker and G Dailey and M Aylott and E Casella and Richter, {G M} and A Riche and R Murphy and G Taylor and P Smith",
year = "2009",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1111/j.1757-1707.2009.01021.x",
language = "English",
volume = "1",
pages = "267--281",
journal = "Global Change Biology. Bioenergy",
issn = "1757-1693",
publisher = "Wiley",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Greenhouse gas emissions from four bioenergy crops in England and Wales

T2 - Integrating spatial estimates of yield and soil carbon balance in life cycle analyses

AU - Hillier, J

AU - Whittaker, C

AU - Dailey, G

AU - Aylott, M

AU - Casella, E

AU - Richter, G M

AU - Riche, A

AU - Murphy, R

AU - Taylor, G

AU - Smith, P

PY - 2009/8

Y1 - 2009/8

N2 - Accurate estimation of the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of bioenergy crops requires the integration of a significant component of spatially varying information. In particular, crop yield and soil carbon (C) stocks are variables which are generally soil type and climate dependent. Since gaseous emissions from soil C depend on current C stocks, which in turn are related to previous land management it is important to consider both previous and proposed future land use in any C accounting assessment. We have conducted a spatially explicit study for England and Wales, coupling empirical yield maps with the RothC soil C turnover model to simulate soil C dynamics. We estimate soil C changes under proposed planting of four bioenergy crops, Miscanthus (Miscanthus×giganteus), short rotation coppice (SRC) poplar (Populus trichocarpa Torr. & Gray ×P. trichocarpa, var. Trichobel), winter wheat, and oilseed rape. This is then related to the former land use – arable, pasture, or forest/seminatural, and the outputs are then assessed in the context of a life cycle analysis (LCA) for each crop. By offsetting emissions from management under the previous land use, and considering fossil fuel C displaced, the GHG balance is estimated for each of the 12 land use change transitions associated with replacing arable, grassland, or forest/seminatural land, with each of the four bioenergy crops. Miscanthus and SRC are likely to have a mostly beneficial impact in reducing GHG emissions, while oilseed rape and winter wheat have either a net GHG cost, or only a marginal benefit. Previous land use is important and can make the difference between the bioenergy crop being beneficial or worse than the existing land use in terms of GHG balance.

AB - Accurate estimation of the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of bioenergy crops requires the integration of a significant component of spatially varying information. In particular, crop yield and soil carbon (C) stocks are variables which are generally soil type and climate dependent. Since gaseous emissions from soil C depend on current C stocks, which in turn are related to previous land management it is important to consider both previous and proposed future land use in any C accounting assessment. We have conducted a spatially explicit study for England and Wales, coupling empirical yield maps with the RothC soil C turnover model to simulate soil C dynamics. We estimate soil C changes under proposed planting of four bioenergy crops, Miscanthus (Miscanthus×giganteus), short rotation coppice (SRC) poplar (Populus trichocarpa Torr. & Gray ×P. trichocarpa, var. Trichobel), winter wheat, and oilseed rape. This is then related to the former land use – arable, pasture, or forest/seminatural, and the outputs are then assessed in the context of a life cycle analysis (LCA) for each crop. By offsetting emissions from management under the previous land use, and considering fossil fuel C displaced, the GHG balance is estimated for each of the 12 land use change transitions associated with replacing arable, grassland, or forest/seminatural land, with each of the four bioenergy crops. Miscanthus and SRC are likely to have a mostly beneficial impact in reducing GHG emissions, while oilseed rape and winter wheat have either a net GHG cost, or only a marginal benefit. Previous land use is important and can make the difference between the bioenergy crop being beneficial or worse than the existing land use in terms of GHG balance.

KW - bioenergy

KW - greenhouse gas

KW - LCA

KW - Miscanthus

KW - poplar

KW - short rotation coppice

U2 - 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2009.01021.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2009.01021.x

M3 - Article

VL - 1

SP - 267

EP - 281

JO - Global Change Biology. Bioenergy

JF - Global Change Biology. Bioenergy

SN - 1757-1693

IS - 4

ER -