Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of energy production can be minimized by utilizing biomass in power plants
Biomass if often cited as a carbon-neutral fuel. However, it is being increasingly recognized that this is incorrect: biomass fuels are not always carbon neutral, but they are low carbon. Decision making targeting power generation with low GHG emissions thus requires thorough information regarding the possible sources of GHG emissions associated with the process.
Metso performed a screening-level LCA study on Biopower 5 CEX during the LCA pilot project. As a result, the usage stage was identified as causing by far the greatest GHG emissions compared to other stages. The usage stage was then studied in greater detail in a separate study done in accordance with the calculation rules set in the European Directive 2009/28/EC.
In the case of Biopower 5 CEX, most of the GHG emissions result from the acquisition of biomass. The GHG emissions are calculated in the manner suggested in the European Directive. Other emissions sources, such as disposal of ash or production of auxiliary power, account for only a minor part of the plant's overall GHG emissions during its use.
Based on the results of this study, it appears that Biopower 5 CEX causes less GHG emissions than other power production methods during its operation, provided that the boundary conditions set for this study are met. The GHG emissions of Biopower 5 CEX can be further decreased with environmentally friendly raw material management. This often calls for extensive co-operation between the fuel suppliers and the operator of the plant.
A detailed report on the study is available on MW Power's website www.mwpower.fi.