Quantifying environmental and health benefits of using woody biomass for electricity generation in the Southwestern United States

Ching-Hsun Huang, Benjamin A. Bagdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The majority of National Forests in the southwestern United States need fuels-reduction treatments that have not kept pace with tree growth and fuels accumulation. The harvested small-sized trees are commonly disposed of through pile burning on the site due to their low market values. We assessed the environmental and health benefits of using small diameter wood from the fuels-reduction treatments as a renewable energy source for electricity production to increase forest health and environmental quality. Our study area was located in northern Arizona within the Four Forest Restoration Initiative project area. We investigated eight air pollutants, projected stand conditions, calculated pollutant emissions from power generators and assessed damage costs from power production. We further used life cycle assessments to investigate emissions from feedstock production, transportation and power generation. Our life cycle assessment results indicate that the annual total damage costs of three treatment-energy scenarios, 1) no thin-coal, 2) thin & pile burning-coal, and 3) thin-bioenergy, are $978,157, $1,732,300 and $43,216, respectively. We determined that in comparison with the no-action (no thin-coal) scenario, the total environmental and health damage cost avoided by utilizing removed woody biomass for the yearly output of a 1 MW (megawatt) power plant was $934,941 annually.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Forest Economics
Volume32
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Fingerprint

Southwestern United States
electricity generation
electricity
coal
life cycle assessment
damages
pollutant
damage
biomass
pile
life cycle
costs
pollutants
health
cost
scenario
bioenergy
forest health
power generation
forest restoration

Keywords

  • Avoided damage costs
  • Bioenergy
  • Coal
  • Life-cycle assessment
  • Pollutant emissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology

Cite this

@article{8a54e565096241c995ed7af91ae4c27f,
title = "Quantifying environmental and health benefits of using woody biomass for electricity generation in the Southwestern United States",
abstract = "The majority of National Forests in the southwestern United States need fuels-reduction treatments that have not kept pace with tree growth and fuels accumulation. The harvested small-sized trees are commonly disposed of through pile burning on the site due to their low market values. We assessed the environmental and health benefits of using small diameter wood from the fuels-reduction treatments as a renewable energy source for electricity production to increase forest health and environmental quality. Our study area was located in northern Arizona within the Four Forest Restoration Initiative project area. We investigated eight air pollutants, projected stand conditions, calculated pollutant emissions from power generators and assessed damage costs from power production. We further used life cycle assessments to investigate emissions from feedstock production, transportation and power generation. Our life cycle assessment results indicate that the annual total damage costs of three treatment-energy scenarios, 1) no thin-coal, 2) thin & pile burning-coal, and 3) thin-bioenergy, are $978,157, $1,732,300 and $43,216, respectively. We determined that in comparison with the no-action (no thin-coal) scenario, the total environmental and health damage cost avoided by utilizing removed woody biomass for the yearly output of a 1 MW (megawatt) power plant was $934,941 annually.",
keywords = "Avoided damage costs, Bioenergy, Coal, Life-cycle assessment, Pollutant emissions",
author = "Ching-Hsun Huang and Bagdon, {Benjamin A.}",
year = "2018",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jfe.2018.05.001",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "32",
pages = "123--134",
journal = "Journal of Forest Economics",
issn = "1104-6899",
publisher = "Urban und Fischer Verlag Jena",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Quantifying environmental and health benefits of using woody biomass for electricity generation in the Southwestern United States

AU - Huang, Ching-Hsun

AU - Bagdon, Benjamin A.

PY - 2018/8/1

Y1 - 2018/8/1

N2 - The majority of National Forests in the southwestern United States need fuels-reduction treatments that have not kept pace with tree growth and fuels accumulation. The harvested small-sized trees are commonly disposed of through pile burning on the site due to their low market values. We assessed the environmental and health benefits of using small diameter wood from the fuels-reduction treatments as a renewable energy source for electricity production to increase forest health and environmental quality. Our study area was located in northern Arizona within the Four Forest Restoration Initiative project area. We investigated eight air pollutants, projected stand conditions, calculated pollutant emissions from power generators and assessed damage costs from power production. We further used life cycle assessments to investigate emissions from feedstock production, transportation and power generation. Our life cycle assessment results indicate that the annual total damage costs of three treatment-energy scenarios, 1) no thin-coal, 2) thin & pile burning-coal, and 3) thin-bioenergy, are $978,157, $1,732,300 and $43,216, respectively. We determined that in comparison with the no-action (no thin-coal) scenario, the total environmental and health damage cost avoided by utilizing removed woody biomass for the yearly output of a 1 MW (megawatt) power plant was $934,941 annually.

AB - The majority of National Forests in the southwestern United States need fuels-reduction treatments that have not kept pace with tree growth and fuels accumulation. The harvested small-sized trees are commonly disposed of through pile burning on the site due to their low market values. We assessed the environmental and health benefits of using small diameter wood from the fuels-reduction treatments as a renewable energy source for electricity production to increase forest health and environmental quality. Our study area was located in northern Arizona within the Four Forest Restoration Initiative project area. We investigated eight air pollutants, projected stand conditions, calculated pollutant emissions from power generators and assessed damage costs from power production. We further used life cycle assessments to investigate emissions from feedstock production, transportation and power generation. Our life cycle assessment results indicate that the annual total damage costs of three treatment-energy scenarios, 1) no thin-coal, 2) thin & pile burning-coal, and 3) thin-bioenergy, are $978,157, $1,732,300 and $43,216, respectively. We determined that in comparison with the no-action (no thin-coal) scenario, the total environmental and health damage cost avoided by utilizing removed woody biomass for the yearly output of a 1 MW (megawatt) power plant was $934,941 annually.

KW - Avoided damage costs

KW - Bioenergy

KW - Coal

KW - Life-cycle assessment

KW - Pollutant emissions

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85048516834&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85048516834&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jfe.2018.05.001

DO - 10.1016/j.jfe.2018.05.001

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85048516834

VL - 32

SP - 123

EP - 134

JO - Journal of Forest Economics

JF - Journal of Forest Economics

SN - 1104-6899

ER -