There is growing interest in using crop residues, particularly cereal straw, to replace fossil fuels in heat and electricity production. The purpose of the present study was to assess and compare the environmental impacts of straw production in two European Union countries, Poland and Finland.
The selected environmental impacts were greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, biodiversity and soil physical quality. The latter was represented by the indicators of soil erosion and compaction. For biodiversity and erosion assessment, the authors used two methods that could be used with existing easily accessible data and thus did not require excessive fieldwork.
Compared to the fossil reference fuel, coal, straw production caused minimal GHG emissions in both of the subject countries. Biodiversity and erosion impacts were greater in Poland, while the potential risk of soil compaction caused by field traffic is greater in Finland.
The study provides insight into the impacts of bioenergy production on biodiversity and soil quality, of which there is currently limited knowledge.
The work was carried out in the Sustainable Bioenergy Solutions for Tomorrow (BEST) research program coordinated by CLIC Innovation with funding from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, Tekes. The authors would like to thank the following project partners from Poland for their efforts to collect the survey data from Polish farmers: Bartlomiej Iglinski from the Nicolaus Copernicus University, Aleksandra Kaczmarek from the International Faculty of Engineering, Lodz University of Technology and Jakub Kajdanek from the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Lodz.
Joensuu, K. and Sinkko, T. (2018), "Harvesting straw in Poland and Finland: How does it affect greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and soil physical quality?", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 67-78. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJESM-01-2017-0007Download as .RIS
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