Energy crops in Ireland: An assessment of their potential contribution to sustainable agriculture, electricity and heat production

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Resource or Project Abstract

This dataset includes life-cycle analyses and economic analyses for Miscanthus and willow heat and electricity fuel-chains in Ireland. Displaced agricultural land-uses and conventional fuels were considered in fuel-chain permutations. Avoided greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions ranged from 7.7 to 35.2 t CO2 eq. ha-1 a-1. Most fuel-chain permutations exhibited positive discounted financial returns, despite losses for particular entities at a farm-gate processed-biomass price of ?100 t-1 dry-matter. Attributing a value of ?10 t-1 CO2 eq. to avoided GHG emissions, but subtracting financial returns associated with displaced fuel supplies, resulted in discounted annual national economic benefits (DANEBs) ranging from -?457 to ?1887 ha-1 a-1. Extrapolating a plausible combination of fuel-chains up to a national indicative scenario resulted in GHG emission avoidance of 3.56 Mt CO2 eq. a-1 (5.2% of national emissions), a DANEB of 167 M?, and required 4.6% of national agricultural land area. As cost-effective national GHG avoidance options, Miscanthus and willow fuel-chains are robust to variation in yields and CO2 price, and appear to represent an efficient land-use option (e.g. compared with liquid biofuel production). Policies promoting utilisation of these energy-crops could avoid unnecessary, and environmentally questionable, future purchase of carbon credits, as currently required for national Kyoto compliance

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. David Styles
Environmental Research Centre

Prof. Mike Jones
Trinity College Dublin

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att 1    Energy_crops_in_Ireland.doc   (0.11 Mb)
Att 2    Energy_crops_in_Ireland.xls   (0.35 Mb)

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Author(s)Styles, D. Jones, M.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationEnergy crops in Ireland: An assessment of their potential contribution to sustainable agriculture, electricity and heat production
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifierfa2287ae-3bf0-102b-950d-28616e04c7da
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-07-14

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Styles, D. Jones, M.   "Energy crops in Ireland: An assessment of their potential contribution to sustainable agriculture, electricity and heat production". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-07-14)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsEnergy-crops, Miscanthus, willow, GHG emissions, sustainable development, renewable energy
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2004-SD-DS-17-Jones
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeSocio-Economics
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceThe usual academic acknowledgements should be used where information from the final report on this project is used. Please used the Citation below for an example of how a reference should be formatted.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Friday 1st April 2005 (01-04-2005)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 1st February 2006 (01-02-2006)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Sunday 30th April 2006 (30-04-2006)
Published on SAFERWednesday 5th March 2008 (05-03-2008)
Date of Last EditWednesday 19th March 2008 at 14:16:24 (19-03-2008)
Datasets or Files Updated On Wednesday 19th March 2008 at 14:16:24 (19-03-2008)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
The project study area was not constrained to one specific area or region. The project looked at energy crops in Ireland. The project has national relevance in this respect therefore national coverage.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
This data set was generated in response to changed market conditions, high fuel-import dependency and an increasing concern over GHG emisisons combining to improve the prospects for energy crop utilisation in Ireland. In particular, agricultural subsidy decoupling from production in 2005, and sharp increases in energy prices from 2005 onwards. There was a need to quantify the major environmental and economic impacts of energy-crop utilisation in Ireland. This work is relevant for Ireland's Kyoto and post-Kyoto GHG emission targets, and identifies alternative, more efficient biomass utilisation for electricity and heat generation, rather than transport biofuel use encouraged by EU Biofuels Directive.
Supplementary Information
LCA considered whole fuel chains, all direct and indirect emisisons, including those arising outside Ireland (e.g fertiliser manufacture; coal mining). Economic comparisons were based on a net present value approach, comparing income and expenditure over 20-yr time horizons for energy crop cultivation and electricity and heat generation. Differences in NPVs compared with substituted land uses and fuels were taken as the net economic impact (indirect economic impacts were not considered).

Annual Farm Survey data (2005); CSO land use data; National Inventory Report (2006) emissions data and factors; FAPRI-Ireland economic forecast data; multitude of literature sources for specific aspects of LCA and production costs.
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