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					    IEA Bioenergy
    Task 38        Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass
an international               and Bioenergy Systems
      under the
auspices of the
Energy Agency


                               3                              UK
                                                                       The Netherlands







                                       New Zealand

                                                                      Participating Countries
IEA Bioenergy
Task 38

Introduction                                                               of the previous Tasks XV and 25) brings together the
IEA Bioenergy is an international collaborative agree-                     work of national programs in 12 participating countries
ment, set up in 1978 by the International Energy Agency                    on GHG balances for a wide range of biomass systems,
(IEA) to improve international cooperation and infor-                      bioenergy technologies and terrestrial carbon seques-
mation exchange between national bioenergy research,                       tration. The Task considers questions of carbon
development and demonstration (RD & D) programs.                           accounting in the land-use, land-use change and
IEA Bioenergy aims to realize the use of environmentally                   forestry (LULUCF) sector under the United Nations
sound and cost-competitive bioenergy on a sustainable                      Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC)
basis, thereby providing a substantial contribution to                     and contributes to the work of the Intergovernmental
meeting future energy demands.                                             Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
IEA Bioenergy currently has 13 Tasks, all of which are
supervised by the IEA Bioenergy Executive Committee.
Each Task has a defined work program and is led by                         Objectives
one of the participating countries (Operating Agent). A                    Task 38 builds on the achievements of Task 25, which
Task Leader, appointed by the Operating Agent, directs                     concentrated on scientific-technical issues and method
and manages the work programme. In each country, a                         development. The new Task focuses more on appli-
National Team Leader is responsible for the coordi-                        cation of methodologies to GHG mitigation projects and
nation of the national participation in the task.                          programs. Objectives of the Task are to:
Each participating country pays a contribution towards                     s develop, compare and make available integrated
the organizational requirements, and provides in-kind                         computer models and other tools for assessing
contributions to enable the participation of national                         GHG balances of bioenergy and carbon seques-
experts in a Task.                                                            tration systems on the project, activity, and regional
This collaboration fosters progress in RD & D of new and                      levels, and address scaling issues between these
improved energy technologies for the exploitation of                          levels;
bioenergy resources, and in the identification of the                      s assess the life cycle GHG balance of such systems,
GreenHouse Gas (GHG) benefits of bioenergy use.                               including leakage, additionality, and uncertainties;
IEA Bioenergy Task 38 on Greenhouse Gas Balances of                        s make comparisons of bioenergy systems with e. g.
Biomass and Bioenergy Systems (which continues work                           fossil energy systems, as well as comparisons of
                                                                              wood products with other materials such as steel
                        d            CO2                                      and concrete;
                                                                 O2        s analyse the country-level and regional potential of
                                           a                                  bioenergy, forestation, and other biomass-based
                                                                              mitigation strategies, including implications for

                                                             b                atmospheric CO2 reduction;
                                                                           s aid decision makers in selecting mitigation strat-
                                                                              egies that optimise GHG benefits, e. g. allocating
                                                                              biomass to energy vs. use as raw material; consid-
                      C          c
                                                                              ering costs and benefits, as well as the practicalities
Figure 1: Illustration of the recycling of carbon. a: CO2 is captured by      of different mitigation strategies;
the growing crops and forests; b: oxygen (O2 ) is released and carbon
                                                                           s assist in the implementation of forestry, land-use
(C) is stored in the biomass of the plants; c: carbon in harvested
biomass is transported to the power station; d: the power station             and bioenergy options through methodological work
burns the biomass, releasing the CO2 captured by the plants back to           and development of standards for carbon account-
the atmosphere. Considering the process cycle as a whole, there are
no net CO2 emissions from burning the biomass.                                ing in the energy and LULUCF sectors.

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                                                                                                                    IEA Bioenergy Task 38
                                                                                                                                                                                       IEA Bioenergy
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Task 38

Standard methodology for GHG balances

Introduction                                                                                                                               Trade offs and synergies
A systematic framework for estimating the net GHG                                                                                          Afforestation or forest protection measures can be
emissions for bioenergy systems, and the energy sys-                                                                                       effective measures for mitigating the rise of CO2 in the
tems they would displace, has been developed. The                                                                                          atmosphere, but may compete with biomass pro-
major aspects of this “standard methodology”, and a                                                                                        duction for limited land resources. In such cases
schematic structure, are introduced below.                                                                                                 trade-offs between biomass harvest and carbon
                                                                                                                                           stocks in biomass must be considered. An example of
Carbon stock dynamics                                                                                                                      synergy is that found in afforestation or reforestation
The carbon stocks in plants, plant debris and soils can                                                                                    with an integrated production system for wood and
change when biomass is grown and harvested. Such                                                                                           bioenergy, in which the stand is thinned to maximize
changes in carbon stock might extend over long peri-                                                                                       value of wood production, and thinnings are utilized
ods of time, after which a new equilibrium is                                                                                              for bioenergy.
approached, thus necessitating time-dependent

                   Bioenergy system                                                                 Fossil reference energy system
                                                                                                                                                                          Bioenergy provides an irreversible
                   Stable atmospheric carbon                                                          Increasing atmospheric carbon
                                                                                                                                                                          mitigation benefit when it displaces
                    Carbon                                   Carbon
                    fixation                                oxidation                                                                                                     fossil fuels. Mitigation benefits of
                                                                                                                                                                          afforestation or forest protection
                   Renewable                                                                                                        Decreasing
                     biotic                                                                                                            fossil                             will be lost if deforestation occurs.
                    carbon                                                                                                            carbon
                     stocks                                                                                                           stocks

        Auxiliary fossil
                                                        Biomass                                                            Fossil fuel
                                                                                                                                          Auxiliary fossil                Emission factors
       energy emissions                                                                                                                  energy emissions
                                                                                                                                                                          The net benefit of using biomass
                                                                                                                                                                          energy depends on the carbon
           By-                 Harvesting             Processing                                Production                Processing              By-
        products                                                                                                                               products                   emission rates (amount of carbon
                                                                                                                                                                          emitted per unit of energy) of the
                                Transport                Storage                                 Transport                Storage
                                                                                                                                                                          displaced fossil fuels (e. g. oil, or
        Conversion in
       vehicle engines
                                                                                                                                          Conversion in
                                                                                                                                         vehicle engines
                                                                                                                                                                          natural gas). For example, the net
                                                                                                                                                                          emission reduction of switching
                                    Conversion in heat                                               Conversion in heat
                                     and power plants                                                 and power plants                                                    from coal to biomass will be greater
                                                                                                                                                                          than that of switching from natural
                                       Heat / electricity                                              Heat / electricity                                                 gas to biomass, assuming all other
                                        distribution                                                    distribution
                                                                                                                                                                          factors such as conversion effi-
                                                                                                                                                                          ciencies remain unchanged.

                                                                        Useful energy:
                                                  • Heat • Electricity • Mechanical energy

                   Legend:                                         Carbon flow*                                           Energy flow

                   * Other GHG and auxiliary fossil energy inputs are excluded in this figure for reasons of simplicity
                                                                                                                                                             IEF 98/026

Figure 2: Standard Methodology for calculation of GHG balances

                                                                                                                                                                                                         page 3
Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems
IEA Bioenergy
Task 38

Efficiency                                                            Highlights
The efficiency of bioenergy systems (e. g. energy output
per unit of feedstock energy or mass) may in some
                                                                      of Task 38 output
cases be lower than that of fossil energy systems.                    Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Recent technological developments have increased the                  “Answers to Ten Frequently Asked Questions about
efficiency of bioenergy systems considerably (e.g.                    Bioenergy, Carbon Sinks and their Role in Global
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle—IGCC).                         Climate Change” is a paper that aims to inform indus-
                                                                      try, researchers, policy makers and interested public
Upstream energy inputs                                                about some key issues surrounding these topics. The
Production, transport and conversion of biomass fuels                 FAQ explain:
require auxiliary inputs of energy, which must be includ-

                                                                                                                                    Courtesy of DOE/ NREL, credit Warren Gretz
ed in the assessment, as must the energy requirements
for the supply of fossil fuels on which the reference
energy system is based.

The use of biomass fuels does not always avoid the use
of fossil fuels to the extent suggested by the amount of
bioenergy actually used, a phenomenon commonly re-
ferred to as “leakage”.
                                                                      Wood chip production

Bioenergy is often produced as a by-product. There are                1. The difference between CO2 emissions from bio-
also cases where bioenergy is the main product and                       energy and from fossil fuels;
other by-products have to be considered. The emiss-                   2. How trees and forests act as a carbon sink;
ions and offsets associated with both products and by-                3. The effect of harvesting on carbon sinks;
products must be estimated and allocated.                             4. The area of land required to supply bioenergy to a
                                                                         power station;
Other Greenhouse Gases                                                5. The area of forest required to offset CO2 emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions associated with both fossil                     from a power station or from running a car;
and bioenergy fuel chains include not only CO2, but                   6. The types of trees and crops that are best as carbon
other gases such as CH4 and N2O.                                         sinks or for bioenergy and wood production;
                                                                      7. Integrated land management for carbon sinks,
                                                                         bioenergy and fibre production;
                                                                      8. How the management of land as a carbon sink or for
                                                                         bioenergy production affects biodiversity and other
                                                                         environmental characteristics;
                                                                      9. The potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
                                                                         by using bioenergy and through terrestrial carbon
                                                                      10. The current availability of technology to allow bio-
                                                                         energy to play a role in reducing atmospheric CO2.
Figure 3: Model results: carbon balance of a fuelwood plantation on
formerly agricultural land

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                                                                                                            IEA Bioenergy Task 38
                                                                                                                                       IEA Bioenergy
                                                                                                                                                          Task 38

Country reports
The country reports for each participating country of the                                       s The New Zealand case study assesses the GHG
Task summarise:                                                                                     balance of a sawmill in New Zealand, equipped with
s Background information on the general energy                                                      a combined heat and power (CHP) plant utilising
    system and GHG emissions, on bioenergy systems,                                                 sawmill residues of bark and sawdust. The current
    and on the national LULUCF situation;                                                           bioenergy system is compared to a reference
s Bioenergy and carbon sequestration policies and                                                   system based on natural gas.
    measures at national, regional and local levels;                                            s In Canada the emission reduction of a small pyroly-
s Bioenergy and carbon sequestration implementation                                                 sis plant, which uses both thinnings from a juvenile
    projects and research programmes.                                                               spacing program and sawmill residues as feedstock,
                                                                                                    is examined. The plant produces bioOil for subse-
A matrix with participating countries (columns) and the                                             quent use either in a pulp mill line kiln or for export.
topics listed above (rows) is being developed as the                                            s The Finnish and Swedish case studies look at the
“heart” of a hyper-linked system. This work will be pre-                                            links between increased use of construction wood
sented with supplementary information on a CD ROM                                                   and the use of biomass-fired cogeneration plants in
and on the Task 38 website.                                                                         comparison to fossil fuel use.
                                                                                                s The case study for the United Kingdom is targeted
                                                                                                    to compare small-scale bioenergy solutions for a
                                                            Courtesy of BrikettEnergi, Sweden

                                                                                                    rural community versus centralized systems of ener-
                                                                                                    gy and heat generation, and bioenergy crops versus
                                                                                                    short-rotation forests versus long-rotation forests.
                                                                                                s In Croatia the GHG emissions reduction potential
                                                                                                    through biodiesel is assessed in the context of a
                                                                                                    potential Joint Implementation project.

                                                                                                A set of 40 overheads for general use by participants
Pellets and briquettes from sawdust                                                             has been completed and is available for National Team
                                                                                                Leaders on the Task 38 Intranet. The overheads cover
Case studies                                                                                    general Task information and specific results from
Task 38 is applying the standard methodology to                                                 participating countries.
specific projects and helps increase experience that is
useful in implementation of mitigation projects and pro-
                                                                                                                                                                    Courtesy of Kvaerner Pulping AB, Sweden

grammes. Case studies are therefore conducted to
assess and compare the GHG balances of different
bioenergy and C sequestration projects in the partici-
pating countries. For example:
s In Australia GHG balances of two alternative bio-
    energy conversion systems (30 MW wood-fired
    power station, co-firing in a 500 MW black coal-fired
    power station) in North East New South Wales are
    compared. The biomass is produced from conven-
    tional plantation forestry.                                                                 Schematic view of a wood-chip grate boiler for heat production

                                                                                                                                                           page 5
Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems
IEA Bioenergy
Task 38


                                                                                                                                                Courtesy of UK Forest Research Photo Library
Each year one to two workshops are organized to attract
experts on timely issues related to bioenergy, carbon
sequestration and GHG from around the world, to
enable them to exchange ideas and experience and to
provide a creative forum to facilitate collaborative work.

Other work
Impact of soil carbon change on the
GHG balance of bioenergy systems                                      Loading of logs for transportation by truck

Short-term soil carbon changes resulting from forest
                                                                      fulfilling Kyoto Protocol targets, and how traded bio-
establishment, and long-term changes associated with
                                                                      mass fuels can be accounted for in national GHG
land-use change, will impact on the GHG balance of
                                                                      inventories. This work is carried out jointly with IEA
bioenergy systems. The Task will produce a paper on
                                                                      Bioenergy Task 35 “Techno-Economic Assessments
soil carbon changes in bioenergy and carbon seques-
                                                                      for Bioenergy Applications”, which focuses on the
tration projects, addressing the implications for GHG
                                                                      economic aspects of biomass trade.
balances and carbon accounting under the Kyoto
                                                                      Scientific and technical support
                                                                      The Task contributes to work in the context of
Biomass trade (jointly with Task 35)
                                                                      National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, for example
As the use of biomass increases especially in more
                                                                      regarding approaches for estimating and accounting
densely populated areas, a need arises for transporting
                                                                      of CO2 emissions from harvested wood products and
and trading biomass over longer distance. Task 38 is
                                                                      biomass fuels, or the development of IPCC Good
investigating the GHG aspects of trading biomass in
                                                                      Practice Guidelines for national emissions inventories
various forms, its role in national policies to reduce net
                                                                      in the land use, land-use change and forestry sector.
greenhouse gas emissions, the role of biomass trade in

            10             15                 1                  9                   5                     3                 4

  12               6                13                 11                  2                   14                   7                  8
                       Task 38 National Teamleaders: Numbers refer to the list on the back page of this folder

page 6
                                                                                                                        IEA Bioenergy Task 38
                                                                                              IEA Bioenergy
                                                                                                                Task 38

Task publications
    Bibliography                                               Miscellaneous
    Greenhouse gas balances of bioenergy systems: A            Accounting system considerations: CO2 emissions
    bibliography on greenhouse gas balances of bioenergy,      from forests, forest products, and land-use change—
    forestry, wood products, land use, and land-use change     a statement from Edmonton
    M. Waupotitsch, B. Schlamadinger, and R. Madlener (eds).   M. Apps, T. Karjalainen, S. Marland, and
    September 1999, second edition, 597 pp.                    B. Schlamadinger. July 1997. iea-bioenergy-task38/ ¬      

                                                               The role of bioenergy in greenhouse gas mitigation
    Workshop Proceedings                                       A position paper prepared by IEA Bioenergy Task 25. iea-bioenergy-task38/workshop             November 1998.
                                                      / iea-bioenergy-task38/task38/ ¬
    Greenhouse gas balances of bioenergy from forestry         posapa4.pdf
    and wood industry
    B. Schlamadinger, and J. Spitzer, (eds)
                                                               Land use, land-use change, and forestry in the Kyoto
    Biomass & Bioenergy, 1997 Special Issue, 13(6).
    Proceedings of the Task XV Workshop, in Stockholm,
                                                               B. Schlamadinger (ed)
    Sweden, 29 – 31 May 1996.
                                                               Special Issue of Environmental Science and Policy,
                                                               Volume 2, Number 2, 1999.
    Effects of the Kyoto Protocol on forestry and bioenergy
    projects for mitigation of net carbon emissions
    B. Schlamadinger and R. Madlener (eds) April 1998.         Project-based greenhouse gas accounting: guiding
    Proceedings of the Task XV / 25 Workshop in Rotorua, New   principles with focus on baselines and additionality
    Zealand, 9 and 13 March 1998.                              L. Gustavsson, T. Karjalainen, G. Marland, I. Savolainen,
                                                               B. Schlamadinger, and M. Apps. 2000, Energy Policy 28:
    Between COP3 and COP4: The role of bioenergy in            S. 935–946.
    achieving the targets stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol.
    Including a joint session with IEA Bioenergy Task 18
    R. Madlener and K. Pingoud (eds) November 1998.            IEA Bioenergy—a summary of 5 years work on
    Proceedings of the Task 25 Workshop in Nokia, Finland,     “bioenergy and greenhouse gases”
    8 –11 September 1998.                                      K. A. Robertson and B. Schlamadinger
                                                               Proceedings of the 1st World Conference on Biomass
    Bioenergy for mitigation of CO2 emissions: the power,      for Energy and Industry, held in Sevilla, Spain, 5–9 June
    transportation, and industrial sectors                     2000. James & James (Science Publishers) Ltd, London,
    K. A. Robertson and B. Schlamadinger (eds) January 2000.   2001.
    Proceedings of the Task 25 Workshop in Gatlinburg, USA,
    27–30 September 1999.
                                                               Answers to ten frequently asked questions about
                                                               bioenergy, carbon sinks and their role in global
    Land use, land-use change and forestry:
                                                               climate change
    the road to COP6
                                                               R. Matthews and K. Robertson. Folder prepared by IEA
    K. A. Robertson and B. Schlamadinger (eds)
                                                               Bioenergy Task 38. September 2001.
    Summary of the joint Task 25 and COST E21 Workshop
                                                      iea-bioenergy-task38/ ¬
    session in Joensuu, Finland, 28 September 2000.
                                                               publication/task38faq.pdf ¬
                                                               Forest-based carbon mitigation project: technical
    Carbon accounting and emissions trading related to         options for dealing with permanence (duration)
    bioenergy, wood products and carbon sequestration          B. Schlamadinger, L. Auckland, S. Berg, D. Bradley,
    B. Schlamadinger, S. Woess-Gallasch and A. Cowie (eds)     L. Ciccarese, V. Dameron, A. Faaij, C. Forner, M. Jack-
    July 2001.                                                 son, G. Marland and R. Sikkema. To be submitted for
    Proceedings of the Task 38 Workshop in Canberra,           publication, 2002.
    Australia, 26 –30 March 2001.

                                                                                                                 page 7
Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems
IEA Bioenergy

                                                                                                                                            Cover photographs: courtesy of DOE/NREL, USA (1, 2, 3), RIKA, Austria (4), State Forests New South Wales, Australia (5).
                                                                                                                                            The contributions of all Task participants are gratefully acknowledged.
                                                                                                                                            by JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Steyrergasse 17, A-8010 Graz, AUSTRIA. May 2002.
                                                                                                                                            This folder was designed and published on behalf of IEA Bioenergy Task 38

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       IEA Bioenergy: T38: 2002: 02
Task 38

Task Leader
          1 Bernhard Schlamadinger, Joanneum Research, Elisabethstrasse 5, A-8010 Graz, AUSTRIA
            Phone: +43 316 876-1340, Fax: +43 316 876-91340, e-mail:

National Team Leaders of IEA Bioenergy Task 38
          2 AUSTRALIA, Annette Cowie                                                 9 NEW ZEALAND, Kimberly Robertson
            State Forests New South Wales                                              Forest Research
            P.O. Box 100, Beecroft, New South Wales 2119, AUSTRALIA                    Private Bag 3020, Rotorua, NEW ZEALAND
            Phone:     +61 2 987 2-0138                                                Phone:     +64 7 343 5359
            Fax:       +61 2 987 1-6941                                                Fax        +64 7 343 5332
            e-mail:                                          e-mail:

          3 AUSTRIA, Susanne Woess-Gallasch                                        10 NORWAY, Birger Solberg
            Joanneum Research                                                         Agricultural University of Norway
            Elisabethstrasse 5, A-8010 Graz, AUSTRIA                                  P.O. Box 5044, N-1432 Ås, NORWAY
            Phone:      +43 316 876-1330                                              Phone:      +47 64 94 88 80
            Fax:        +43 316 876-91330                                             Fax:        +47 64 94 88 90
            e-mail:                                     e-mail:

          4 CANADA, Doug Bradley                                                   11 SWEDEN, Leif Gustavsson
            Douglas Bradley & Assoc.                                                  Mid Sweden University
            402 Third Avenue                                                          831 25 Östersund, SWEDEN
            Ottawa, Ontario K15 2K7, CANADA                                           Phone:    +46 70 344 70 30
            Phone:     +1 613 231 6767                                                Fax:      +46 63 165 450
            Fax:       +1 613 230 4503                                                e-mail:
            e-mail:    douglas.bradley@                            

          5 CROATIA, Snjezana Fijan-Parlov                                         12 THE NETHERLANDS
            EKONERG Institute                                                         Kees Kwant
            Ulica grada Vukovara 37, HR-10000 Zagreb, CROATIA                         NOVEM
            Phone:     +385 1 632-2908                                                Catharijnesingel 59, Postbus 8242
            Fax:       +385 1 530-604                                                 3503 RE Utrecht, THE NETHERLANDS
            e-mail:                                              Phone:     +31 30 2393 458
                                                              Fax:       +31 30 2316 491
          6 DENMARK, Niels Heding
            Danish Forest and Landscape Research Institute                         13 Andre Faaij
            Hoersholm Kongevej 11, DK 2970 Hoersholm, DENMARK                         Department of Science,
            Phone:     +45 45 763 200                                                 Technology & Society
            Fax:       +45 45 763 233                                                 Utrecht University
            e-mail:                                                     Padualaan 14
                                                                                      3584 CH Utrecht, THE NETHERLANDS
                                                                                      Phone:     +31 30 253 76 43
                                                                                      Fax:       +31 30 253 76 01

          7 FINLAND                                                                14 UNITED KINGDOM, Robert Matthews
            Ilkka Savolainen                                                          Forest Research
            VTT-Processes                                                             Mensuration Branch, Alice Holt Lodge, Wrecclesham
            P.O. Box 1606                                                             Farnham, Surrey GU10 4LH, UNITED KINGDOM
            FIN-02044 VTT (Espoo), FINLAND                                            Phone:     +44 1420 526-235
            Phone:     +358 9 456-5062                                                Fax:       +44 1420 234-50
            Fax:       +358 9 456-6538                                                e-mail:
          8 Kim Pingoud                                                            15 UNITED STATES, Margaret Mann
            VTT-Processes                                                             National Renewable Energy Laboratory
            P.O. Box 1606                                                             1617 Cole Blvd, MS-1613, Golden, Colorado, USA
            FIN-02044 VTT (Espoo), FINLAND                                            Phone:     +1 303 275 2921
            Phone:     +358 9 456-5074                                                Fax:       +1 303 275 2905
            Fax:       +358 9 456-6538                                                e-mail:

Operating Agent: Republic of Austria
             Contact: Josef Spitzer, Joanneum Research, Elisabethstrasse 5, A-8010 Graz, AUSTRIA
             Phone: +43 316 876-1338, Fax: +43 316 876-1320, e-mail:

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Description: Bioenergy provides an irreversible mitigation benefit