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Potential Net Reductions In Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Farm Bioenergy Production In Canada

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4th World Congress Conference, Proceedings of the 24-26 July 2006 (Orlando, Florida USA) Publication Date 24 July 2006  701P0606.(doi:10.13031/2013.21971)
Authors:   Nathaniel K. Newlands, Jacqueline Foyle, Liu Lin Yang
Keywords:   Biofuel, Biodiesel, Ecosystem, Farm, Greenhouse gas emission, Life-cycle assessment

We investigate bioenergy production from farms under Canadian conditions. We couple an existing model of whole-farm greenhouse gas emission (CO2, N20 and CH4) to biofuel production sub-models. For different climate and soil conditions (i.e., eastern and western Canada), we estimate potential net-GHG reductions associated with changes in operational variables, such as tillage and fertilizer application. Lifecycle assessment used to access the short-term benefit and long-term viability of displacing petroleum fuel sources with bioenergy feedstocks provide contrasting results. Such assessment involves uncertain assumptions of present and future land-use conversion, bioenergy yield, energy production conversion efficiencies, and emissions from off-farm distribution and supply. We present results from farm-biodiesel coupled model scenarios. We compare results to assess the relative benefits of reducing GHG emission, alongside other potential farm ecosystem impacts - such as ability of soil to sequester carbon and removal of soil nitrogen that would otherwise aid in replenishing crops. Our goal is to provide more resolved estimates of the expected range in farm net-GHG to help improve the accuracy and reliability for full life-cycle assessments that include considerations off the farm.

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