Greenhouse Gas Potentials of Shrub Willow Biomass Crops Based on Below- and Aboveground Biomass Inventory Along a 19-Year Chronosequence

Pacaldo, Renato; Volk, Timothy; Briggs, Russell
March 2013
BioEnergy Research;Mar2013, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p252
Academic Journal
Shrub willow biomass crops (SWBC) have been developed as a biomass feedstock for bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts in the northeastern and midwestern USA as well as in Europe. A previous life cycle analysis in North America showed that the SWBC production system is a low-carbon fuel source. However, this analysis is potentially inaccurate due to the limited belowground biomass data and the lack of aboveground stool biomass data. This study provides new information on the above- and belowground biomass, the carbon-nitrogen (C/N) ratio, and the root/shoot (R/S) ratio of willow biomass crops ( Salix × dasyclados [SV1]), which have been in production from 5 to 19 years. The measured amounts of biomass were: 2.6 to 4.1 odt ha for foliage, 4.9 to 10.9 odt ha for aboveground stool (AGS), 2.9 to 5.7 odt ha for coarse roots (CR), 3.1 to 10.2 odt ha for belowground stool (BGS), and 5.6 to 9.9 odt ha for standing fine root (FR). The stem biomass production ranged from 7.0 to 18.0 odt ha year for the 5- and 19-year-old willows, respectively. C/N ratios ranged from 23 for foliage to 209 for belowground stool. An average R/S ratio of 2.0, calculated as total belowground biomass (BGS, CR, and FR) plus AGS divided by annual stem biomass, can be applied to estimate the total belowground biomass production of a mature SWBC. Based on AGS, BGS, and CR and standing FR biomass data, SWBC showed a net GHG potential of −42.9 Mg CO eq ha at the end of seven 3-year rotations.


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