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The potential role of biochar in combating climate change in Scotland: an analysis of feedstocks, life cycle assessment and spatial dimensions

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  • Sohel Ahmed
  • Jim Hammond
  • Rodrigo Ibarrola
  • Simon Shackley
  • Stuart Haszeldine

Abstract

Pyrolysis-super-1 biochar systems (PBS) could assist in meeting the Scottish Government's target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 relative to 1990. Drawing on literature review of land use and biomass availability in Scotland at present and in the future, and using established life cycle assessment models, we find that biochar could contribute between 0.4 and 2 MtCO 2 equivalent (e) abatement per year in Scotland now (2009), increasing to between 1.4 and 4.2 MtCO 2 e/yr by 2030 and to between 1.5 and 4.8 MtCO 2 e/yr by 2050. The practicalities of such biochar deployment are explored further through spatial analysis. Through multi-criteria decision analysis, various factors are weighed up and traded-off against one another to show optimum locations for pyrolysis biochar facilities. The factors considered include proximity to sources (feedstock for biochar production), sinks (for biochar application), and proximity to transport infrastructure etc. Preliminary results show that most of the potentially suitable sites are around the central belt extending into Fife.

Suggested Citation

  • Sohel Ahmed & Jim Hammond & Rodrigo Ibarrola & Simon Shackley & Stuart Haszeldine, 2012. "The potential role of biochar in combating climate change in Scotland: an analysis of feedstocks, life cycle assessment and spatial dimensions," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(4), pages 487-505, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:55:y:2012:i:4:p:487-505
    DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2011.608890
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    Cited by:

    1. Giacomo Falcone & Anna Irene De Luca & Teodora Stillitano & Alfio Strano & Giuseppa Romeo & Giovanni Gulisano, 2016. "Assessment of Environmental and Economic Impacts of Vine-Growing Combining Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Costing and Multicriterial Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(8), pages 1-34, August.

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