Substituting wood pellets for coal in large-scale power stations: A dynamic life cycle assessment examination

Brandon Morrison, Jesse Daystar, Jay S. Golden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study assesses the environmental impacts resulting from the use of wood pellets produced in the Southeastern USA and burned for electricity generation in the UK. A cradle-to-grave, comparative life cycle assessment is performed, comparing electricity produced from wood pellets versus electricity generated from coal. Assuming immediate carbon neutrality of the wood biomass, the results presented here indicate an 86% reduction in climate change impacts when utilising wood pellets as compared to coal. Incorporating the timing of emissions, using dynamic life cycle assessment methodologies, shifts the time horizon of carbon dioxide savings in comparison to emissions from coal. When accounting for the timing of emissions, wood pellets equate to a 94% or 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, depending upon whether the trees utilised for wood pellets are considered to be planted or harvested in year one, respectively, given a 100-year time horizon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-288
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Global Energy Issues
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioenergy
  • Dynamic life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainable systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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