The Potential Role of Biochar in Combating Climate Change in Scotland: An Analysis of Feedstocks, Life Cycle Assessment and Spatial Dimensions

Sohel Ahmed, Jim Hammond, Rodrigo Ibarrola Esteinou, Simon Shackley, Stuart Haszeldine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Pyrolysis biochar systems (PBS) could assist in meeting the Scottish Government’s target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 relative to 1990. Drawing on literature review of land use and biomass availability in Scotland at present and in the future, and using established life cycle assessment models, we find that biochar could contribute between 0.4 and 2 MtCO2 equivalent (e) abatement per year in Scotland now (2009), increasing to between 1.4 and 4.2 MtCO2e/yr by 2030 and to between 1.5 and 4.8 MtCO2e/yr by 2050. The practicalities of such biochar deployment are explored further through spatial analysis. Through multi-criteria decision analysis, various factors are weighed up and traded-off against one another to show optimum locations for pyrolysis biochar facilities. The factors considered include proximity to sources (feedstock for biochar production), sinks (for biochar application), and proximity to transport infrastructure etc. Preliminary results show that most of the potentially suitable sites are around the central belt extending into Fife.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487 - 505
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Volume55
Issue number4
Early online date16 Dec 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • biochar; pyrolysis; Scotland; carbon abatement; land use 1.

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