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The potential role of biochar in combating climate change in Scotland: an analysis of feedstocks, life cycle assessment and spatial dimensions

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Pyrolysis1 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.
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Keywords: Scotland; biochar; carbon abatement; land use; pyrolysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: UK Biochar Research Centre (UKBRC), School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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