This study discusses about the environmental performance of Miscanthus conversion to district heat. Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) is used as a tool to assess the environmental impacts related to the biomass conversion to heat. Energy conversion of Miscanthus is compared in two combustion scenarios: (i) in Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant and (ii) in a Boiler (producing heat only). Biomass conversion to heat is also compared with the conversion of natural gas (NG). The environmental impact categories considered for the assessment are: Global Warming Potential (GWP), Non-Renewable Energy (NRE) use and Land use (LU). The current study revealed that for 1 MJ of heat production, Miscanthus fired in the CHP plant would lead to a GWP at −0.071 kg CO2-eq, an NRE use −0.767-MJ primary, and LU 0.09 m2-a (square metre-annual). For the same heat output, Miscanthus fired in the boiler would lead to a GWP of 0.005 kg CO2-eq, NRE use 0.172 MJ-primary and land use 0.063 m2-a. Miscanthus fired in the CHP plant is better than in the boiler from the stand point of lowering the GWP and increasing the savings in fossil fuel, but with slightly higher LU. A comparison between Miscanthus and NG has showed that despite the biomass possessed advantage in reducing GWP and NRE use, additional land required for Miscanthus could be seen as a disadvantage.
Biomass and Bioenergy, 2015, Vol 72, p. 104-116
District heat; Global warming potential; Land use; Life cycle assessment (LCA); Miscanthus; Non-renewable energy use