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Life cycle assessment of urban uses of biochar and case study in Uppsala, Sweden

Azzi, Elias S. and Karltun, Erik and Sundberg, Cecilia (2022). Life cycle assessment of urban uses of biochar and case study in Uppsala, Sweden. Biochar. 4 :1 , 18
[Research article]

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Biochar is a material derived from biomass pyrolysis that is used in urban applications. The environmental impacts of new biochar products have however not been assessed. Here, the life cycle assessments of 5 biochar products (tree planting, green roofs, landscaping soil, charcrete, and biofilm carrier) were performed for 7 biochar supply-chains in 2 energy contexts. The biochar products were benchmarked against reference products and oxidative use of biochar for steel production. Biochar demand was then estimated, using dynamic material flow analysis, for a new city district in Uppsala, Sweden. In a decarbonised energy system and with high biochar stability, all biochar products showed better climate performance than the reference products, and most applications outperformed biomass use for decarbonising steel production. The climate benefits of using biochar ranged from - 1.4 to - 0.11 tonne CO2-eq tonne(-1) biochar in a decarbonised energy system. In other environmental impact categories, biochar products had either higher or lower impacts than the reference products, depending on biochar supply chain and material substituted, with trade-offs between sectors and impact categories. However, several use-phase effects of biochar were not included in the assessment due to knowledge limitations. In Uppsala's new district, estimated biochar demand was around 1700 m(3) year(-1) during the 25 years of construction. By 2100, 23% of this biochar accumulated in landfill, raising questions about end-of-life management of biochar-containing products. Overall, in a post-fossil economy, biochar can be a carbon dioxide removal technology with benefits, but biochar applications must be designed to maximise co-benefits.

Authors/Creators:Azzi, Elias S. and Karltun, Erik and Sundberg, Cecilia
Title:Life cycle assessment of urban uses of biochar and case study in Uppsala, Sweden
Series Name/Journal:Biochar
Year of publishing :2022
Article number:18
Number of Pages:17
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Environmental Sciences (social aspects to be 507)
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
Keywords:Biochar, Carbon dioxide removal, Urban areas, Bioeconomy, Life cycle assessment, Material flow analysis
Permanent URL:
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000766159100001
ID Code:27431
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
(S) > Dept. of Soil and Environment

(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:25 Mar 2022 09:25
Metadata Last Modified:17 May 2022 07:22

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