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Frontiers in Energy >> 2021, Volume 15, Issue 2 doi: 10.1007/s11708-020-0696-x

Environmental, social, and economic assessment of energy utilization of crop residue in China

. Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental System Optimization(Ministry of Education), College of Environmental Sciense and Engineering, North China Electic Power University, Beijing 102206, China.. School Chemical and Environmental Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology, Beijng 100083, China.. Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby 2820, Denmark.. National Institute of Clean and Low Carbon Energy, Beijing 102211, China.. Chinese Acadamy of Engineering, Beijing 100088, China

Accepted: 2020-09-21 Available online:2020-09-21

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This paper aims to discuss an environmental, social, and economic analysis of energy utilization of crop residues from life cycle perspectives in China. The methodologies employed to achieve this objective are environmental life cycle assessment (E-LCA), life cycle cost (LCC), and social life cycle assessment (S-LCA). Five scenarios are developed based on the conversion technologies and final bioenergy products. The system boundaries include crop residue collection, transportation, pre-treatment, and conversion process. The replaced amounts of energy are also taken into account in the E-LCA analysis. The functional unit is defined as 1 MJ of energy produced. Eight impact categories are considered besides climate change in E-LCA. The investment capital cost and salary cost are collected and compared in the life cycle of the scenarios. Three stakeholders and several subcategories are considered in the S-LCA analysis defined by UNEP/SETAS guidelines. The results show that the energy utilization of crop residue has carbon emission factors of 0.09–0.18 kg (CO eq per 1 MJ), and presents a net carbon emissions reduction of 0.03–0.15 kg (CO eq per 1 MJ) compared with the convectional electricity or petrol, but the other impacts should be paid attention to in the biomass energy scenarios. The energy utilization of crop residues can bring economic benefit to local communities and the society, but the working conditions of local workers need to be improved in future biomass energy development.

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