In the last years the greenhouse effect has been significantly intensified due to human activities, generating large additional amounts of Greenhouse gases (GHG). The fossil fuels are the main causes of that. Consequently, the attention on the composition of the national fuel mix has significantly grown, and the renewables are becoming a more significant component. In this context, biomass is one of the most important sources of renewable energy with a great potential for the production of energy. The study has evaluated, through an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) study, the attitude of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) as “no food” biomass alternative to maize silage (corn), in the production of biogas from anaerobic digestion. Considering the same functional unit (1 m3 of biogas from anaerobic digestion) and the same time horizon, alfalfa environmental impact was found to be much comparable to that of corn because it has an impact of about 15% higher than corn considering the total score from different categories and an impact of 5% higher of corn considering only greenhouse gases. Therefore, the analysis shows a similar environmental load in the use of alfalfa biomass in energy production compared to maize. Corn in fact, despite a better yield per hectare and yield of biogas, requires a greater amount of energy inputs to produce 1m3 of biogas, while alfalfa, which requires less energy inputs in its life cycle, has a lower performance in terms of yield. The results show the possibility to alternate the two crops for energy production from an environmental perspective.

Life cycle assessment analysis of Alfalfa and corn for biogas production in a farm case study

Panara F.;
2020

Abstract

In the last years the greenhouse effect has been significantly intensified due to human activities, generating large additional amounts of Greenhouse gases (GHG). The fossil fuels are the main causes of that. Consequently, the attention on the composition of the national fuel mix has significantly grown, and the renewables are becoming a more significant component. In this context, biomass is one of the most important sources of renewable energy with a great potential for the production of energy. The study has evaluated, through an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) study, the attitude of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) as “no food” biomass alternative to maize silage (corn), in the production of biogas from anaerobic digestion. Considering the same functional unit (1 m3 of biogas from anaerobic digestion) and the same time horizon, alfalfa environmental impact was found to be much comparable to that of corn because it has an impact of about 15% higher than corn considering the total score from different categories and an impact of 5% higher of corn considering only greenhouse gases. Therefore, the analysis shows a similar environmental load in the use of alfalfa biomass in energy production compared to maize. Corn in fact, despite a better yield per hectare and yield of biogas, requires a greater amount of energy inputs to produce 1m3 of biogas, while alfalfa, which requires less energy inputs in its life cycle, has a lower performance in terms of yield. The results show the possibility to alternate the two crops for energy production from an environmental perspective.
Alfalfa
Bioenergy
Biogas
Corn
LCA
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12079/56841
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