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  • 1. Bartoli, A.
    et al.
    Hamelin, L.
    Rozakis, S.
    Borzęcka, M.
    Brandão, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.
    Coupling economic and GHG emission accounting models to evaluate the sustainability of biogas policies2019In: Renewable & sustainable energy reviews, ISSN 1364-0321, E-ISSN 1879-0690, Vol. 106, p. 133-148Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this study is to evaluate and quantify the impacts of different biogas and related policies on the agricultural sector as well as their performance in terms of climate change mitigation and associated costs. To do so we coupled the partial equilibrium approach simulating the market clearing process with the perspective of Life Cycle Assessment of GHG applying it to the well-documented Lombardy case. Results show that the recent Italian biogas policy – prompting manure utilization and reducing the average subsidy per kWh – effectively increased the environmental sustainability of the system, which only now seems able to counteract global warming. Synergies are observed when the recent Common Agricultural Policy greening reform is simultaneously considered by the model.

  • 2.
    Brandao, Miguel
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering. IEA Bioenergy Task 38, Int Energy Agcy, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Kirschbaum, Miko U. F.
    Landcare Res, Palmerston North, New Zealand..
    Cowie, Annette L.
    IEA Bioenergy Task 38, Int Energy Agcy, Stockholm, Sweden.;Univ New England, NSW Dept Primary Ind, Armidale, NSW, Australia..
    Hjuler, Susanne Vedel
    Slangerup, Slangerup, Denmark.;COWI AS, Lyngby, Denmark..
    Quantifying the climate change effects of bioenergy systems: Comparison of 15 impact assessment methods2019In: Global Change Biology Bioenergy, ISSN 1757-1693, E-ISSN 1757-1707, Vol. 11, no 5, p. 727-743Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Ongoing concern over climate change has led to interest in replacing fossil energy with bioenergy. There are different approaches to quantitatively estimate the climate change effects of bioenergy systems. In the present work, we have focused on a range of published impact assessment methods that vary due to conceptual differences in the treatment of biogenic carbon fluxes, the type of climate change impacts they address and differences in time horizon and time preference. Specifically, this paper reviews fifteen different methods and applies these to three hypothetical bioenergy case studies: (a) woody biomass grown on previously forested land; (b) woody biomass grown on previous pasture land; and (b) annual energy crop grown on previously cropped land. Our analysis shows that the choice of method can have an important influence on the quantification of climate change effects of bioenergy, particularly when a mature forest is converted to bioenergy use as it involves a substantial reduction in biomass carbon stocks. Results are more uniform in other case studies. In general, results are more sensitive to specific impact assessment methods when they involve both emissions and removals at different points in time, such as for forest bioenergy, but have a much smaller influence on agricultural bioenergy systems grown on land previously used for pasture or annual cropping. The development of effective policies for climate change mitigation through renewable energy use requires consistent and accurate approaches to identification of bioenergy systems that can result in climate change mitigation. The use of different methods for the same purpose: estimating the climate change effects of bioenergy systems, can lead to confusing and contradictory conclusions. A full interpretation of the results generated with different methods must be based on an understanding that the different methods focus on different aspects of climate change and represent different time preferences.

  • 3. Cowie, Annette
    et al.
    Ximenes, Fabiano
    Berndes, Goran
    Brandao, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Lamers, Patrick
    Marland, Gregg
    Policy institutions and forest carbon2016In: Nature Climate Change, ISSN 1758-678X, E-ISSN 1758-6798, Vol. 6, no 9, p. 805-805Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Finnveden, Göran
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Arushanyan, Yevgeniya
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Brandao, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering. Department of Bioeconomy and Systems Analysis, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Czartoryskich 8 Str., 24-100 Pulawy, Poland.
    Exergy as a Measure of Resource Use in Life Cycle Assessment and Other Sustainability Assessment Tools2016In: Resources, E-ISSN 2079-9276, Vol. 5, no 3, article id 23Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A thermodynamic approach based on exergy use has been suggested as a measure for the use of resources in Life Cycle Assessment and other sustainability assessment methods. It is a relevant approach since it can capture energy resources, as well as metal ores and other materials that have a chemical exergy expressed in the same units. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the use of the thermodynamic approach in case studies and to compare the results with other approaches, and thus contribute to the discussion of how to measure resource use. The two case studies are the recycling of ferrous waste and the production and use of a laptop. The results show that the different methods produce strikingly different results when applied to case studies, which indicates the need to further discuss methods for assessing resource use. The study also demonstrates the feasibility of the thermodynamic approach. It identifies the importance of both energy resources, as well as metals. We argue that the thermodynamic approach is developed from a solid scientific basis and produces results that are relevant for decision-making. The exergy approach captures most resources that are considered important by other methods. Furthermore, the composition of the ores is shown to have an influence on the results. The thermodynamic approach could also be further developed for assessing a broader range of biotic and abiotic resources, including land and water.

  • 5. Koponen, Kati
    et al.
    Soimakallio, Sampo
    Kline, Keith L.
    Cowie, Annette
    Brandao, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering. Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Poland.
    Quantifying the climate effects of bioenergy - Choice of reference system2018In: Renewable & sustainable energy reviews, ISSN 1364-0321, E-ISSN 1879-0690, Vol. 81, p. 2271-2280Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to understand the climate effects of a bioenergy system, a comparison between the bioenergy system and a reference system is required. The reference system describes the situation that occurs in the absence of the bioenergy system with respect to the use of land, energy, and materials. The importance of reference systems is discussed in the literature but guidance on choosing suitable reference systems for assessing climate effects of bioenergy is limited. The reference system should align with the purpose of the study. Transparency of reference system assumptions is essential for proper interpretation of bioenergy assessments. This paper presents guidance for selecting suitable reference systems. Particular attention is given to choosing the land reference. If the goal is to study the climate effects of bioenergy as a part of total anthropogenic activity the reference system should illustrate what is expected in the absence of human activities. In such a case the suitable land reference is natural regeneration, and energy or material reference systems are not relevant. If the goal is to assess the effect of a change in bioenergy use, the reference system should incorporate human activities. In this case suitable reference systems describe the most likely alternative uses of the land, energy and materials in the absence of the change in bioenergy use. The definition of the reference system is furthermore subject to the temporal scope of the study. In practice, selecting and characterizing reference systems will involve various choices and uncertainties which should be considered carefully. It can be instructive to consider how alternative reference systems influence the results and conclusions drawn from bioenergy assessments.

  • 6. Mohammadi, A.
    et al.
    Cowie, A. L.
    Anh Mai, T. L.
    Brandão, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management. Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Poland.
    Anaya de la Rosa, R.
    Kristiansen, P.
    Joseph, S.
    Climate-change and health effects of using rice husk for biochar-compost: Comparing three pyrolysis systems2017In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 162, p. 260-272Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study presents a comparative analysis of the environmental impacts of different biochar-compost (COMBI) systems in North Vietnam relative to the conventional practice of open burning of rice husks. Three COMBI systems, using different pyrolysis technologies (pyrolytic cook-stove, brick kiln and the BigChar 2200 unit) for conversion of rice husk into biochar were modelled. Biochar was assumed to be composted with manure and straw, and the biochar-compost produced from each system was assumed to be applied to paddy rice fields. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) showed that the three COMBI systems significantly improved environmental and health impacts of rice husk management in spring and summer compared with open burning, in terms of climate change, particulate matter (PM) and human toxicity (HT) impacts. The differences between the three COMBI systems in the climate change and PM impacts were not significant, possibly due to the large uncertainties. In all systems, the suppression of soil CH4 emissions is the major contributor to the reduced climate effect for the COMBI systems, comprising 56% in spring and 40% in summer. The greatest reduction in the HT impact was offered by the BigChar 2200 system, where biochar is produced in a large-scale plant in which pyrolysis gases are used to generate heat rather than released into the atmosphere.

  • 7. Mohammadi, Ali
    et al.
    Cowie, Annette
    Mai, Thi Lan Anh
    Anaya de la Rosa, Ruy
    Brandao, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Kristiansen, Paul
    Joseph, Stephen
    Quantifying the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of utilising straw biochar and enriched biochar2016In: EUROPEAN GEOSCIENCES UNION GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2016, Elsevier, 2016, p. 254-261Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study investigated the carbon footprint of two different biochar production systems for application to paddy fields. The impacts of using rice straw-derived biochar in raw form (System A) were compared with those arising from using rice straw biochar enriched with lime, clay, ash and manure (System B). The GHG abatement of the management of one Mg of rice straw in Systems A and B was estimated at 0.27 and 0.61 Mg CO2-eq, respectively, in spring season, and 0.30 and 1.22 Mg CO2-eq in summer. The difference is mainly due to greater reduction of soil CH4 emissions by enriched biochar.

  • 8. Mohammadi, Ali
    et al.
    Cowie, Annette
    Mai, Thi Lan Anh
    de la Rosa, Ruy Anaya
    Kristiansen, Paul
    Brandao, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Joseph, Stephen
    Biochar use for climate-change mitigation in rice cropping systems2016In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 116, p. 61-70Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study estimated the climate change effects of alternative rice production systems in North Vietnam with different residue management options, using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The traditional practice of open burning of residues (System A) was compared with the alternative of converting residues to biochar, which was returned to the same land area from which the residues were obtained (System B). Pyrolytic cook-stoves and drum ovens were assumed to be used by households to produce biochar, and the cook-stoves produced heat energy for cooking. The annual rate of biochar applied was determined by the amount of biochar produced from the straw and husk available. We assumed that agronomic effects of biochar increased with each annual biochar application until reaching maximum benefits at 18 Mg ha I, which takes eight years to be produced in pyrolytic cook-stoves and drum ovens. The largest contributor to the carbon footprint of rice at the mill gate, was CH4 emissions from soil, in both systems. Biochar addition reduced the carbon footprint of spring rice and summer rice by 26% and 14% respectively, compared with System A, in the first year of application. These values substantially increased to 49% and 38% after eight years of biochar addition. The climate effect of System B was most sensitive to the assumed suppression of soil CH4 emissions due to biochar application.

  • 9. Novaes, Renan M. L.
    et al.
    Pazianotto, Ricardo A. A.
    Brandao, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Alves, Bruno J. R.
    May, Andre
    Folegatti-Matsuura, Marilia I. S.
    Estimating 20-year land-use change and derived CO2 emissions associated with crops, pasture and forestry in Brazil and each of its 27 states2017In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 23, no 9, p. 3716-3728Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Land-use change (LUC) in Brazil has important implications on global climate change, ecosystem services and biodiversity, and agricultural expansion plays a critical role in this process. Concerns over these issues have led to the need for estimating the magnitude and impacts associated with that, which are increasingly reported in the environmental assessment of products. Currently, there is an extensive debate on which methods are more appropriate for estimating LUC and related emissions and regionalized estimates are lacking for Brazil, which is a world leader in agricultural production (e.g. food, fibres and bioenergy). We developed a method for estimating scenarios of past 20-year LUC and derived CO2 emission rates associated with 64 crops, pasture and forestry in Brazil as whole and in each of its 27 states, based on time-series statistics and in accordance with most used carbon-footprinting standards. The scenarios adopted provide a range between minimum and maximum rates of CO2 emissions from LUC according to different possibilities of land-use transitions, which can have large impacts in the results. Specificities of Brazil, like multiple cropping and highly heterogeneous carbon stocks, are also addressed. The highest CO2 emission rates are observed in the Amazon biome states and crops with the highest rates are those that have undergone expansion in this region. Some states and crops showing large agricultural areas have low emissions associated, especially in southern and eastern Brazil. Native carbon stocks and time of agricultural expansion are the most decisive factors to the patterns of emissions. Some implications on LUC estimation methods and standards and on agri-environmental policies are discussed.

  • 10.
    Pelletier, Nathan
    et al.
    Univ British Columbia Okanagan, Fipke Ctr Innovat Res, 3247 Univ Way, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada..
    Bamber, Nicole
    Univ British Columbia Okanagan, Fipke Ctr Innovat Res, 3247 Univ Way, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada..
    Brandao, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Interpreting life cycle assessment results for integrated sustainability decision support: can an ecological economic perspective help us to connect the dots?2019In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT, Vol. 24, no 9, p. 1580-1586Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is often described as a sustainability decision support tool. In practice, however, the interpretation and application of most LCA studies are restricted to eco-efficiency considerations, which provide an important but incomplete basis for sustainability decision-making. Recent methodological advances in the field enable assessing LCA results against sustainability boundaries or thresholds at planetary or more finely resolved scales. Weighting, although controversial, facilitates consistent, stakeholder-appropriate decision-making that reflects prioritization among multiple and potentially competing sustainability outcomes. Here, we discuss how the three minimum necessary criteria for sustainability (i.e., sustainable scale relative to biocapacity, distributive justice, and efficient allocation), as proposed by ecological economist Herman Daly, may provide an internally consistent basis for integrating these methodological developments, and for subsequently better positioning LCA as a sustainability decision support framework.

  • 11. Soimakallio, Sampo
    et al.
    Brandão, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Ekvall, Tomas
    Cowie, Annette
    Finnveden, Göran
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Erlandsson, Martin
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland.
    Koponen, Kati
    Karlsson, Per-Erik
    On the validity of natural regeneration in determination of land-use baseline2016In: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, E-ISSN 1614-7502, Vol. 21, no 4, p. 448-450Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 12. Yang, Y.
    et al.
    Heijungs, R.
    Brandao, Miguel
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) does not necessarily yield more accurate results than process-based LCA2017In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 150, p. 237-242Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA), through combining input-output (IO) models and process-based LCA for a complete system boundary, is widely recognized as a more accurate approach than process-based LCA with an incomplete system boundary. Without a complete process model for verification, however, the performance of hybrid LCA remains unclear. Here, using a counterexample we show that hybrid LCA does not necessarily provide more accurate results than process-based LCA, simply because the aggregation of heterogeneous processes in IO models may introduce more errors. In so doing, we prove that only when IO-based LCA and process-based LCA have the same level of detail would they yield the same results. Whether hybrid LCA provides more accurate estimates depends on whether the IO model introduced serves as an adequate proxy for the missing products as opposed to if they were estimated by a complete process model. The use of a highly-aggregated IO model runs the risk of overestimation, and could result in a larger relative error than the truncation error resulting from an incomplete process model. Our study seeks to provide a balanced view of hybrid LCA, and our findings offer important insights for future hybrid LCA studies to improve the accuracy and realm of applicability of the approach.

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