An Integrated Stochastic Life-Cycle Assessment and Techno-Economic Analysis of Shrub Willow Production in the Northeastern United States

Authors: 
Frank, J., State University of New York - College of Environmental Science & Forestry
Therasme, O., SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Brown, T., State University of New York - College of Environmental Science & Forestry
Volk, T. A., SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Malmsheimer, R., State University of New York - College of Environmental Science & Forestry
Ha, H., State University of New York - College of Environmental Science & Forestry
Fortier, M. O., University of California
Abstract: The objective of this study was to quantify the environmental and financial impacts of shrub willow production in the northeastern United States through the integration of life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic analysis (TEA) methodologies. The LCA methodology followed ISO 14040 and accounted for the climate change impact of 1 oven dry Mg of willow biomass delivered at the gate of the end-user. The TEA methodology calculated the net present value and minimum selling price of shrub willow production within the northeastern United States. For the entire study, the system boundaries were the same and included processes from site preparation, nursery, planting and crop management, harvesting, and transportation to the end-user. Scenarios where willow was planted on what was previously classified as cropland or grassland were modeled because there are differences in changes of soil carbon and shrub willow yield. This study is novel in its integration of LCA and TEA for shrub willow production and for its incorporation of uncertainty through its stochastic treatment of the following variables: yield (Mg/ha), transportation distance to the end-user (km), harvester fuel consumption (L/hr), moisture content (%), and material capacity (Mg/hr). The following financial parameters were treated stochastically within the TEA: planting costs ($/Mg), diesel fuel price (% change), wood price ($/dry Mg), and land rental rates ($/acre).
Preliminary results will be presented at the conference.