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 Land Use TagsBiodiesel
Corn Oil
Crude Oil
GHGenius 3.13
GHGenius 4.03
Land Use
Palm Oil
 Palm Oil and Biofuel Update
 Prepared March 2013
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The palm oil pathway was added to GHGenius in 2006. It had not been reviewed or updated since that time. There is considerably more information now available on the production system since the EPA spent several years studying the pathway for the RFS2 program and the industry in Malaysia and Indonesia released a lot of information in response to the preliminary EPA findings. Some palm oil based biofuels are being used in Canada, so it is appropriate to review and update the pathway. Particular attention was paid to the modelling of emissions from the soils in general and the peat soils in particular.

Another biofuel feedstock that is starting to be produced in Canada and is being used in the United States is corn oil extracted from the stillage of ethanol plants. This product is already a co-product of the ethanol production process, so it was relatively straightforward to add it as a feedstock for biodiesel and HRD production in the model.

The Canola Council of Canada and Agriculture and AgriFood Canada (AAFC) undertook a survey of 1000 canola producers in 2011. This survey has resulted in a wealth of information concerning fertilizer application rates, fuel usage, and pesticide application rates. This data was used to develop GHG emission data for canola production in Canada at the eco-zone level. GHGenius has been updated with this data.

AAFC also made available information on soil carbon changes by soil zone and province for the work for the Canola Council. The same information is available for all provinces with agricultural area. The US national GHG inventory reports have also been reviewed to extract the soil carbon changes due to land management change in the US. This work updated both the US and Canadian soil carbon data in the model.

The work also updated some of the N2O emission calculations with several pieces of new data. AAFC supplied the leaching emission factor by province, which was used in the model to develop regional values. There is also an AAFC paper on the ratios of grain to biomass and the nitrogen contents of above and below biomass. This data was reviewed and compared to the IPCC recommended values. The data in the model for different feedstocks comes from several sources so it would be advantageous to use one data source for most feedstocks.

The chemicals used in the biodiesel manufacturing process are based on an NBB survey undertaken in 2009, but it is believed that this data was misinterpreted when it was first produced and it reports the usage of diluted solutions for catalyst and hydrochloric acid and not the actual usage of those chemicals. This has been corrected in this version of the model.

Finally, we have reviewed the data available from Statistics Canada and AAFC on manure application rates in Canada. It would appear that there is information available that would allow a more precise estimate of manure use for fertilizer in Canada.

Tags: Canola - Corn Oil - GHGenius 4.03 - Land Use - Palm Oil
 Crude Oil Land Use Emissions
 Prepared September 2009
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The intense discussion concerning indirect land use change emissions for biofuels has highlighted the lack of analysis of indirect emissions associated with crude oil production and possible gaps in the assessment of direct land use change from crude oil production.

This work looked for Canadian data sources to determine if good original source data is available to make more accurate, current estimates of direct land use change associated with crude oil production. This report identifies the issues, discusses the available data and data gaps, and suggests a path forward.

Land use change emissions from the production of oil and gas in Canada are probably a relatively small fraction of the total lifecycle emissions of petroleum products in most cases. There has been some work done on quantifying the amount of land disturbed by the various activities that are undertaken prior to production commencing. This quantification does require some assumptions to be made but a variety of estimates found in the literature do cluster in a relatively narrow range.

The results of the estimates reveal that the land disturbed by oil sands extraction may be lower per unit of production than that for conventional oil and gas production. The oil sands operations have higher productivity than oil and gas wells in Alberta and thus while the concentration of the disturbed land is higher than conventional oil production, the intensity of land disturbed per unit of oil produced appears to be lower.

While there is still a large degree of uncertainty with respect to land use emissions from petroleum production, it is clear that there are some land use emissions from all sources of petroleum production in Canada. Land disturbances in other parts of the world are expected to be at least similar to those in Canada but the GHG emissions will vary widely with local conditions. Tropical forests may contain above ground biomass quantities that are an order of magnitude higher than that found in the boreal forests of Canada. This will have a significant impact on land use emissions. Soil carbon levels are not expected to have as wide a range as above ground biomass but wetlands and peat soils do have high carbon contents and petroleum production in these regions can be expected to have higher GHG emissions from land use than well drained soils.

More work should be undertaken to determine accurate values for the change in carbon inventory in the lands impacted by oil production. This is particularly important for oil sands mining where significant overburden is removed.

Tags: Crude Oil - Land Use
 2008 GHGenius Update
 Prepared August 2008
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There have been a significant number of changes made to the model. The new version is 3.13. These upgrades have included incorporating more recent forecasts of future changes in the Canadian energy infrastructure, the capability of having a choice of GWPs to make comparisons with other studies and models easier, the ability to report emissions per unit of energy on either a higher or lower heating value basis, much expanded capacity to model oil sands operations, many changes to the land use calculations to make the results more regional specific, and a number of smaller changes. The changes have impacted all of the pathways in the model.

The two largest pieces of work included:
1. GHGenius has had default values for the production of synthetic crude oil by an integrated mining process. More and more synthetic crude oil is being produced by in situ mining (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage or Cyclic Steam Stimulation), so pathways and default values for these alternate production systems have been added. There is now full flexibility in the model for combining bitumen extraction methods and integrated or stand alone upgraders.
2. A major upgrade of the methodology for calculating land use emissions (direct and indirect).
a. The IPCC 2006 guidance document has some small changes in the sources of N2O that are to be calculated as part of a national inventory. This includes N2O emissions resulting from a loss of soil carbon. This source has been added to the model along with an update of the IPCC default values.
b. An update on the issue of N2O emissions from crops that fix their own nitrogen has been included. There has been an update of the approach included in the model.
c. Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have made considerable progress in defining the appropriate regional emission factors for agricultural activities such as fertilizer application, cultivation practices and other land use activities rather than relying on the IPCC Tier 1 values. These emission factors, which are found mostly on sheet W, have now been regionalized.
d. The soil carbon changes calculations in the model have been changed to a more straightforward approach.
e. Within the model we have an above ground carbon offset due to nitrogen fertilization of biomass from fertilizer that is lost offsite. This is not included in the IPCC guidelines. We have modified the model so that this source can be included or excluded from the calculations by the user.
f. A discussion of above and below ground carbon changes has been included. The model has been modified so that the land use assumption for ethanol co-product credits are consistent with the energy and GHG emission credit calculations. A discussion of how to model both the direct and indirect land use changes for the biomass feedstocks in included.

Tags: Biodiesel - Canola - Corn - Crude Oil - Electricity - Ethanol - GHGenius 3.13 - Land Use - Soybeans - Wheat
 Land Use Report
 Prepared September 2007
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The purpose of this work was to identify key factors that influence the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relating to land use choices of biofuel feedstocks. Emissions from land use changes are becoming a larger issue as the quantities of biofuels produced around the world grows. Concern is being raised about the soil carbon changes that might arise from bringing new land into production. Many GHG emissions models (such as GREET) ignore this aspect of the biofuels issue but some, including Dr. Mark Delucchi’s LEM and GHGenius, have the capability of including these emissions in the biofuel production pathways. The problem is that the scenarios that need to be developed are futuristic and therefore up to the modeller to select the appropriate data for modelling. This subjective approach is problematic.

This work investigates some of the issues that impact these emissions and to arrive at some potential recommendations of how the issue could be best modelled in the future.

The work only considered four feedstocks; corn, wheat, canola, and soybeans. These are the primary feedstocks for the first generation biofuels and the ones that are currently facing the greatest growth pressures. The question is where will the feedstocks to produce these biofuels come from? In GHGenius, the default values for most feedstocks assume some combination of increase in yield and substitution for some generic agricultural feedstock and while a case can be made that this has been the historical route it may not apply in the future. This work sought to address a number of questions that impact on this issue.

Avoided transportation emissions resulting from the use of biofuel feedstocks locally rather than exporting these feedstocks have generally been ignored in most discussions regarding land use and bringing more land into production in remote regions. These emissions will vary from country to country depending on transportation modes employed and the destination of customers. The preliminary analysis undertaken here indicates that in the case of Canada these transportation emissions are very large and avoiding these emissions can offset soil carbon losses resulting from brining new land into production elsewhere in the world.

The most significant issue that arose from this work was the impact of the conversion of forests and forestland to biofuel feedstock production. It is this factor that has the potential to eliminate the GHG emissions benefits of most biofuels as they are currently produced. A thorough investigation of this issue is beyond the scope of this work but an overview of the basic facts is presented.

Tags: Biodiesel - Canola - Corn - Ethanol - Land Use - Soybeans - Wheat
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