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Life cycle assessment of wood energy for residential heating—opportunities for wood pellet production in southeast AlaskaAuthor(s): Allen M. Brackley; David L. Nicholls; Maureen Puettmann; Elaine Oneil
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-951. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 34 p.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionSoutheast Alaska is a remote area, located approximately 700 miles north of Seattle, Washington. Most of the region’s goods are imported by barge, creating logistical and economic challenges not faced by many other parts of the United States. In this context, we used life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the potential environmental impact on global warming potential (GWP) of converting home heating systems from heating oil to wood pellets in southeast Alaska. Once the current level (status quo) was established, we evaluated imported pellet utilization at 20-, 40- and 100-percent penetration into the residential heating oil markets. We also modeled local production of wood pellets in southeast Alaska, assuming a 20-percent penetration. Our research found that reductions in GWP resulting from the conversion to wood pellets ranged from 10 to 51 percent, with the greatest reductions being associated with the highest levels of imported pellets. The scenario of producing wood pellets in southeast Alaska to meet local needs had a reduction in GWP of 14 percent (versus the status quo).
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CitationBrackley, Allen M.; Nicholls, David L.; Puettmann, Maureen; Oneil, Elaine. 2017. Life cycle assessment of wood energy for residential heating—opportunities for wood pellet production in southeast Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-951. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 34 p.
KeywordsPellets, wood energy, residential heating, global warming potential, water transportation.
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