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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 537826, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/537826
Review Article

Assessment of the GHG Reduction Potential from Energy Crops Using a Combined LCA and Biogeochemical Process Models: A Review

1Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3Satellite Environmental Application Center, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100094, China

Received 17 April 2014; Accepted 26 May 2014; Published 17 June 2014

Academic Editor: Yang-Chun Yong

Copyright © 2014 Dong Jiang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The main purpose for developing biofuel is to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, but the comprehensive environmental impact of such fuels is not clear. Life cycle analysis (LCA), as a complete comprehensive analysis method, has been widely used in bioenergy assessment studies. Great efforts have been directed toward establishing an efficient method for comprehensively estimating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction potential from the large-scale cultivation of energy plants by combining LCA with ecosystem/biogeochemical process models. LCA presents a general framework for evaluating the energy consumption and GHG emission from energy crop planting, yield acquisition, production, product use, and postprocessing. Meanwhile, ecosystem/biogeochemical process models are adopted to simulate the fluxes and storage of energy, water, carbon, and nitrogen in the soil-plant (energy crops) soil continuum. Although clear progress has been made in recent years, some problems still exist in current studies and should be addressed. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art method for estimating GHG emission reduction through developing energy crops and introduces in detail a new approach for assessing GHG emission reduction by combining LCA with biogeochemical process models. The main achievements of this study along with the problems in current studies are described and discussed.