We combined economic and life-cycle analyses in an integrated framework to ascertain greenhouse gas (GHG) intensities, production costs, and abatement costs of GHG emissions for ethanol and electricity derived from three woody feedstocks (logging residues only, pulpwood only, and pulpwood and logging residues combined) across two forest management choices (intensive and nonintensive) and 31 harvest ages (year 10-year 40 in steps of 1 year) on reforested and afforested lands at the production level for slash pine (Pinus elliottii) in the Southern United States. We assumed that wood chips and wood pellets will be used to produce ethanol and generate electricity, respectively. Production costs and GHG intensities of ethanol and electricity were lowest for logging residues at the optimal rotation age for both forest management choices. Opportunity cost related with the change in rotation age was a significant determinant of the variability in the overall production cost. GHG intensity of feedstocks obtained from afforested land was lower than reforested land. Relative savings in GHG emissions were higher for ethanol than electricity. Abatement cost of GHG emissions for ethanol was lower than electricity, especially when feedstocks were obtained from a plantation whose rotation age was close to the optimal rotation age. A carbon tax of at least $25 and $38 Mg-1 CO2e will be needed to promote production of ethanol from wood chips and electricity from wood pellets in the US, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-957
Number of pages13
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Abatement cost
  • Bioenergy products
  • Economic analysis
  • GHG intensity
  • Integrated framework
  • Life-cycle assessment
  • Unit production cost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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