Abatement cost of GHG emissions for wood-based electricity and ethanol at production and consumption levels

Puneet Dwivedi, Madhu Khanna

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Abstract

Woody feedstocks will play a critical role in meeting the demand for biomass-based energy products in the US. We developed an integrated model using comparable system boundaries and common set of assumptions to ascertain unit cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of electricity and ethanol derived from slash pine ( Pinus elliottii) at the production and consumption levels by considering existing automobile technologies. We also calculated abatement cost of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with respect to comparable energy products derived from fossil fuels. The production cost of electricity derived using wood chips was at least cheaper by 1 ¢ MJ-1 over electricity derived from wood pellets. The production cost of ethanol without any income from cogenerated electricity was costlier by about 0.7 ¢ MJ-1 than ethanol with income from cogenerated electricity. The production cost of electricity derived from wood chips was cheaper by at least 0.7 ¢MJ -1 than the energy equivalent cost of ethanol produced in presence of cogenerated electricity. The cost of using ethanol as a fuel in a flex-fuel vehicle was at least higher by 6 ¢km-1 than a comparable electric vehicle. The GHG intensity of per km distance traveled in a flex-fuel vehicle was greater or lower than an electric vehicle running on electricity derived from wood chips depending on presence and absence of GHG credits related with co-generated electricity. A carbon tax of at least $7 Mg CO 2e-1 and $30 Mg CO2e-1 is needed to promote wood-based electricity and ethanol production in the US, respectively. The range of abatement cost of GHG emissions is significantly dependent on the harvest age and selected baseline especially for electricity generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere100030
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 17 2014

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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