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Milano, Italy

Caserini S.,DIIAR | Livio S.,DIIAR | Giugliano M.,DIIAR | Grosso M.,DIIAR | Rigamonti L.,DIIAR
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2010

This paper analyzes and compares the environmental impacts of biomass combustion in small appliances such as domestic open fireplaces and stoves, and in two types of centralized combined heat and power plants, feeding district heating networks. The analysis is carried out following a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. The expected savings of GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions due to the substitution of fossil fuels with biomass are quantified, as well as emissions of toxic pollutants and substances responsible for acidification and ozone formation. The LCA results show net savings of GHG emissions when using biomass instead of conventional fuels, varying from 0.08 to 1.08 t of CO2 eq. per t of dry biomass in the different scenarios. Avoided GHG emissions thanks to biomass combustion in Lombardy are 1.32 Mt year-1(1.5% of total regional GHG emissions). For the other impact categories, the use of biomass in district heating systems can again cause a consistent reduction of impacts, whereas biomass combustion in residential devices shows higher impacts than fossil fuels with a particular concern for PAH, VOC and particulate matter emissions. For example, in Lombardy, PM10 emissions from domestic devices are about 8100 t year-1, corresponding to almost one third of the total particulate emissions in 2005. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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