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LCA of eucalyptus wood charcoal briquettes

Rousset, Patrick, Caldeira-Pires, Armando, Sablowski, Alexander, Rodrigues, Thiago
Journal of cleaner production 2011 v.19 no.14 pp. 1647-1653
Eucalyptus, biomass production, briquettes, byproducts, carbon dioxide, charcoal, databases, emissions, energy content, environmental assessment, environmental quality, global warming, income, life cycle assessment, plantations, pulp, raw materials, starch, wood, Amazonia, Brazil
This paper sets out to describe the environmental impact assessment for wood charcoal briquettes produced from eucalyptus wood in Brazil, with specific reference to those impacts associated with Global Warming Potential. To achieve that objective, the work was undertaken in accordance with ISO 14040 "Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principles and framework" which describes essential LCA characteristics and good practices. Charcoal briquettes are produced from two basic raw materials, charcoal fines and starch. The fines result from the production of charcoal from sustainably managed eucalyptus plantations. Starch is extracted from babaçu pulp in the Amazon region. Multi–output processes were allocated based on income from the different by-products. The results showed that more than 90% of incoming CO₂ was due to biomass production for charcoal, and the remainder to starch biomass production. Based on Brazilian data, as well as information provided by the GaBi4.3 database, it turned out that supplying the energy content of 1 kg of briquettes resulted in the sequestration of 3.9690 kg of CO₂, i.e. around 4 kg of CO₂ per kg of briquettes produced. CO₂ emissions throughout the briquette production process are totally compensated for by the environmental quality of the raw materials used.