Life cycle assessment of biomass energy : state of the art, methodological challenges and recommendations

Biomass energy, or bioenergy, is energy produced from renewable biomass, for which the assessment of environmental impacts through life cycle assessment (LCA) presents a number of challenges, in particular methodological ones. The general objectives of this study are to analyze current practices for carrying out LCAs of biomass energy, and to provide recommendations on current and future best practices.

The specific objectives are:
  • To identify current pathways regarding biomass energy (or bioenergy) production;
  • To inventory the claims of different stakeholders about the environmental performances of bioenergy, thus potentially justifying the use of bioenergy;
  • To define the theoretical concepts of LCA of bioenergy;
  • To inventory the main normative guidelines to conduct an LCA of bioenergy;
  • To perform a literature review of the recent literature on LCAs of bioenergy to identify the main methodological choices influencing results;
  • To perform a critical analysis of the main methodological issues related to LCAs of bioenergy;
  • To perform a critical review of some reference data linked to LCAs of bioenergy;
  • To test the influence of several methodological challenges through an application of a case study;
  • To provide short- and long-term recommendations on best practices when performing LCAs on bioenergy.
The full report is available on ScoreLCA’s website.

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