Towards integrated sustainability assessment for energetic use of biomass: A state of the art evaluation of assessment tools
Biomass is expected to play an increasingly significant role in the ‘greening’ of energy supply. Nevertheless, concerns are rising about the sustainability of large-scale energy crop production. Impacts must be assessed carefully before deciding whether and how this industry should be developed, and what technologies, policies and investment strategies should be pursued. There is need for a comprehensive and reliable sustainability assessment tool to evaluate the environmental, social and economic performance of biomass energy production. This paper paves the way for such a tool by analysing and comparing the performance and applicability of a selection of existing tools that are potentially useful for sustainability assessment of bioenergy systems. The selected tools are: Criteria And Indicators (C&I), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), Exergy Analysis (EA) and System Perturbation Analysis (SPA). To evaluate the tools, a framework was constructed that consists of four evaluation levels: sustainability issues, tool attributes, model structure, area of application. The tools were then evaluated using literature data and with the help of a Delphi panel of experts. Finally, a statistical analysis was performed on the resulting data matrix to detect significant differences between tools. It becomes clear that none of the selected tools is able to perform a comprehensive sustainability assessment of bioenergy systems. Every tool has its particular advantages and disadvantages, which means that trade-offs are inevitable and a balance must be found between scientific accuracy and pragmatic decision making. A good definition of the assessment objective is therefore crucial. It seems an interesting option to create a toolbox that combines procedural parts of C&I and EIA, supplemented with calculation algorithms of LCA and CBA for respectively environmental and economic sustainability indicators. Nevertheless, this would require a more comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to align the different tool characteristics and focuses.
Volume (Year): 15 (2011)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/600126/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/600126/bibliographic|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- World Commission on Environment and Development,, 1987. "Our Common Future," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192820808.
- Wolf, J. & Bindraban, P. S. & Luijten, J. C. & Vleeshouwers, L. M., 2003. "Exploratory study on the land area required for global food supply and the potential global production of bioenergy," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 841-861, June.
- Wagendorp, Tim & Gulinck, Hubert & Coppin, Pol & Muys, Bart, 2006. "Land use impact evaluation in life cycle assessment based on ecosystem thermodynamics," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 112-125.
- Dimitri Devuyst, 2000. "Linking impact assessment and sustainable development at the local level: the introduction of sustainability assessment systems," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(2), pages 67-78.
- Daly, Herman E., 1990. "Toward some operational principles of sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-6, April.
- Hueting, Roefie & Reijnders, Lucas, 2004. "Broad sustainability contra sustainability: the proper construction of sustainability indicators," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3-4), pages 249-260, October.
- Wiskerke, W.T. & Dornburg, V. & Rubanza, C.D.K. & Malimbwi, R.E. & Faaij, A.P.C., 2010. "Cost/benefit analysis of biomass energy supply options for rural smallholders in the semi-arid eastern part of Shinyanga Region in Tanzania," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 148-165, January.
- Elghali, Lucia & Clift, Roland & Sinclair, Philip & Panoutsou, Calliope & Bauen, Ausilio, 2007. "Developing a sustainability framework for the assessment of bioenergy systems," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 6075-6083, December.
- Achten, Wouter M.J. & Almeida, Joana & Fobelets, Vincent & Bolle, Evelien & Mathijs, Erik & Singh, Virendra P. & Tewari, Dina N. & Verchot, Louis V. & Muys, Bart, 2010. "Life cycle assessment of Jatropha biodiesel as transportation fuel in rural India," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 3652-3660, December.
- Rosen, Marc A. & Dincer, Ibrahim & Kanoglu, Mehmet, 2008. "Role of exergy in increasing efficiency and sustainability and reducing environmental impact," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 128-137, January.
- Ness, Barry & Urbel-Piirsalu, Evelin & Anderberg, Stefan & Olsson, Lennart, 2007. "Categorising tools for sustainability assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 498-508, January.
- Bram, S. & De Ruyck, J. & Lavric, D., 2009. "Using biomass: A system perturbation analysis," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 194-201, February.
- van Dam, J. & Junginger, M. & Faaij, A.P.C., 2010. "From the global efforts on certification of bioenergy towards an integrated approach based on sustainable land use planning," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(9), pages 2445-2472, December.
- Hoefnagels, Ric & Smeets, Edward & Faaij, André, 2010. "Greenhouse gas footprints of different biofuel production systems," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(7), pages 1661-1694, September.
- Pezzey, J., 1992. "Sustainable Development Concepts; An Economic Analysis," Papers 2, World Bank - The World Bank Environment Paper.
- Searchinger, Timothy & Heimlich, Ralph & Houghton, R. A. & Dong, Fengxia & Elobeid, Amani & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Yu, Hun-Hsiang, 2008. "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Finnveden, Göran & Östlund, Per, 1997. "Exergies of natural resources in life-cycle assessment and other applications," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 923-931.
- Joachim H. Spangenberg, 2004. "Reconciling sustainability and growth: criteria, indicators, policies," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 74-86.
- Delattin, F. & De Ruyck, J. & Bram, S., 2009. "Detailed study of the impact of co-utilization of biomass in a natural gas combined cycle power plant through perturbation analysis," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(5), pages 622-629, May.
- Gerbens-Leenes, P.W. & Hoekstra, A.Y. & van der Meer, Th., 2009. "The water footprint of energy from biomass: A quantitative assessment and consequences of an increasing share of bio-energy in energy supply," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1052-1060, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:15:y:2011:i:8:p:3918-3933. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.