Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Embodied energy and environmental impacts of a biomass boiler: a life cycle approach

Dipartimento di Energia, Ingegneria dell'Informazione e Modelli Matematici—Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy

Special Issues: The Role of Biomass and Bioenergy in Mitigating Climate Change

The 2030 policy framework for climate and energy, proposed by the European Commission, aims towards the reduction of European greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in comparison to the 1990 level and to increase the share of renewable energy of at least the 27% of the European's energy consumption of 2030. The use of biomass as sustainable and renewable energy source may be a viable tool for achieving the above goals. However, renewable energy technologies are not totally clean because they cause energy and environmental impacts during their life cycle, and in particular they are responsible of air pollutant emissions. In this context, the paper assesses the energy and environmental impacts of a 46 kW biomass boiler by applying the Life Cycle Assessment methodology, as regulated by the international standards of series ISO 14040, ISO 21930 and EN 15804. The following life-cycle steps are included in the analysis: raw materials and energy supply, manufacturing, installation, operation, transport, and end-of-life. The results of the analysis, showing a life-cycle primary energy consumption of about 2,622 GJ and emissions of about 21,664 kg CO2eq, can be used as a basis for assessing the real advantages due to the use of biomass boilers for heating and hot water production.
  Article Metrics


1. European Commission, (2011) COM (2011) 885 final—Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions—Energy Roadmap 2050, Brussels.

2. Commission of the European Communities (2007) COM (2006) 848 final—Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament—Renewable Energy Road Map Renewable energies in the 21st century: building a more sustainable future, Brussels.

3. European Commission (2010) SEC(2010) 1346 final—Commission staff working document—State of play in the EU energy policy - Accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions—Energy 2020 A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy, Brussels.

4. European Commission (2011) 112 final—Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions—A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050—2050, Brussels.

5. Renewable Heating and Cooling—European Technology Platform (RHC-ETP) (2010) Biomass for heating & cooling—Vision document—Executive summary.

6. Aebiom (2010) Bioenergy 2030—European and energy issues and the development of bioenergy toward 2030. Available from: www.aebiom.org.

7. Aebiom (2013) European bioenergy outlook 2013—Statistical report. Available from: www.aebiom.org.

8. International Energy Agency (IEA) (2012) Technology Roadmap Bioenergy for Heat and Power.

9. Beccali M, Cellura M, Longo S, et al. (2012) LCA of a solar heating and cooling system equipped with a small water-ammonia absorption chiller. Sol Energy 86: 1491-1503.    

10. Beccali M, Cellura M, Fontana M, et al. (2013) Energy retrofit of a single-family house: life cycle net energy saving and environmental benefits. Renew Sust Energ Rev 27: 283-293.    

11. Beccali M, Cellura M, Finocchiaro P, et al. (2014) Life cycle performance assessment of small solar thermal cooling systems and conventional plants assisted with photovoltaics. Sol Energy 104: 93-102.    

12. UNI EN ISO 14040 (2006) Environmental management—Life Cycle Assessment—Principles and frame work.

13. UNI EN ISO 14044 (2006) Environmental management—Life cycle Assessment—Requirements and guidelines.

14. ISO 21930 (2007) Sustainability in building construction—Environmental declaration of building products.

15. EN 15804 (2012) Sustainability of construction works, Environmental product declarations, Core rules for the product category of construction products.

16. European Commission (2012) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions e Renewable Energy: A Major Player in the European Energy Market COM (2012) 271 Final. Brussels, 6.6.

17. Frischknecht R, Jungbluth N, Althaus HJ, et al. (2007) Overview and Methodology. Ecoinvent Report No. 1, ver.2.0, Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, Dübendorf (CH).

18. Spriensma R (2004) SimaPro Database Manual e the Buwal 250 Library. PRé Consultants, the Netherlands. Available from: www.pre-sustainability.com.

19. European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre e Institute for Environment and Sustainability, (2008) European Life Cycle Database (ELCD) v.2.0. Available from: http://lct.jrc.ec.europa.eu/assessment/data.

20. Energy Plus (2015) Available from: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/energyplus/.

21. Italian Presidential decree n.412—August 26th, 1993 and following integrations.

22. UNI TS 11300 Energy performance of buildings Part 2: Evaluation of primary energy need and of system efficiencies for space heating and domestic hot water production, 2014.

23. Frischknecht R, Jungbluth N, Althaus HJ, et al. (2007) Implementation of Life Cycle Impact Assessment Methods.

24. Prè-Product Ecology Consultants (2014) Software SimaPro.

25. The International EPD Cooperation (IEC) (2013) General Programme Instructions for Environmental Product Declarations. EPD.

26. Kemna R, van Elburg M, Li W, et al. (2007) Preparatory Study on Ecodesign of CH-boilers e Task 5 (Final) e Base Case. Report prepared for European Commission. DG TREN.

27. Diaz M, Rezeau A, Maraver D, et al. (2008) Comparison of the environmental impacts of biomass and fossil fuel medium-scale boilers for domestic applications employing Life Cycle Assessment methodology. In: Proceedings of the 16th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, 2e6 June 2008, Valencia, Spain, 2641-2646.

28. Baxi (2009) Baxi Wall Hung Condensing Boiler Luna 4, Environmental Product Declaration rev.0, 25/11/2009, Certification S-EP-00173. Available from: www.environdec.com.

29. Mudgal S, Turbè A, Kuwahara I, et al. (2009) Preparatory Studies for Eco-design Requirements of EUPs (II)—Lot 15 Solid Fuel Small Combustion Installations e Task 5: Base Cases. Final version. Available from: http://www.ebpg.bam.de.

30. McManus MC (2010) Life cycle impacts of waste wood biomass heating systems: a case study of three UK based systems. Energy 35: 4064-4070.    

Copyright Info: © 2015, Sonia Longo, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Article outline

Show full outline
Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved