IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


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


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:55:y:2012:i:4:p:487-505. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.