Carbon uncertainties in the supply chain

Objectives

To investigate the main sources of uncertainty in different key supply chains and evaluate their potential greenhouse significance.

Background

It is important to be sure that bioenergy systems are delivering real greenhouse gas reductions. There are many standards and protocols for evaluating this, but the results depend upon assumptions at many points along the supply chain, some of which have significant uncertainty attached. This project will investigate these uncertainties and evaluate their significance to the overall greenhouse gas reduction potential of bioenergy systems.

Method

The project will utilise the outputs from project 1.4 (streamlining the supply chain), and consider long-term soil carbon contents in forestry and agricultural systems, the extent to which land-use change assumptions may overestimate sequestration benefits in different agro-ecological zones, and the temporal aspects of bioenergy greenhouse gas sequestration and releases.

Consideration will also be given to how the supply chain accounting approach that dominates in bioenergy policy initiatives interacts with more established emissions inventory approaches and policy recommendations will be formulated to avoid unintentional outcomes, such as incentivising land-use change.

Rothamsted Research will input information on cultivation, corps and soil emissions, Manchester on carbon accounting and policy regimes, and Bath on life cycle assessment. Drax, RES and Dalkia will provide industrial input to this project to ensure that the supply chains are as realistic as possible.

Contact us

Dr Patricia Thornley

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
University of Manchester

Email: p.thornley@manchester.ac.uk

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