ERE1.7Aspects of sustainable biomass utilization for energy and industrial raw materials
|Convener: Viktor J. Bruckman | Co-Convener: Vanessa Parravicini|
Biomass was once the major source of energy until industrial revolution in the midst of the 19th century and the total amount of Bioenergy utilized for Energy production is yearly growing. Soils as the primary resource for the production of these renewable forms of energy are not renewable which implies the need of sustainable management. Fertilization and potential greenhouse gas emissions, water management (irrigation) and other ecological concerns (e.g. biodiversity) have to be considered. Concepts such as (virtual) water or carbon footprint assessment could deliver a wider understanding of the potential impacts. A sustainable efficiency enhancement is inevitable, in particular in developing countries, as the potential to convert additional land for agriculture is limited and the long-term impact on soil fertility has to be considered.
Woody biomass from forests supplied thermal energy for nearly all industrial processes and for domestic needs. Extensive utilization of forest biomass led to wide-spread vast deforestations with a number of negative consequences, for instance soil erosion, biodiversity loss and pollution of clean water reserves. Affected ecosystems recovered slowly after increasing utilization of fossil energy sources. However, recovery may be very slow (up to several millennia), and hence, some effects of intensive biomass extraction, like soil acidification for instance, are still detectable.
Biomass from various sources such as forests, short rotation woody crops (SRWC) and agriculture recently received increased attention. Agricultural crops are worldwide seen as an alternative resource of energy and as raw materials for industrial processes (e.g. in the production of starch products and bioplastic, “second-generation products”). New approaches of thermal utilization of biomass (e.g. torrefacation, pyrolysis) are emerging and have the potential to further decrease CO2 emissions (e.g. through biochar amendment).
This session is open to contributions assessing aspects of biomass utilization at different scales (e.g. local-global, national forest inventories), dealing with potential consequences of land-use change on soils (e.g. nutrient depletion, acidification, carbon cycle), water (e.g. pollution, altering catchment water balances) and atmosphere (e.g. CO2 mitigation potentials, VOC’s pollution of fast growing species). Various environmental consequences on extensive biomass utilization and how to mitigate such negative effects, additional CO2 mitigation potential and conflicts with traditional industries are some areas of key interest. Interdisciplinary and holistic approaches, as well as abstracts proposing alternative use of forest biomass (gasification, biomass-to-liquid (BtL), torrefacation, and pyrolysis) are highly welcome.
This session is co-organized with the IUFRO Task-Force Forest Bioenergy and IUFRO Unit 7.01.03, Impacts of air pollution and climate change on forest ecosystems – Atmospheric deposition, soils and nutrient cycles.