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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 735431, 14 pages
Research Article

Comparative Evaluation of Biomass Power Generation Systems in China Using Hybrid Life Cycle Inventory Analysis

CAS Key Laboratory of Renewable Energy, Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China

Received 7 March 2014; Accepted 18 August 2014; Published 14 October 2014

Academic Editor: Li Zhuang

Copyright © 2014 Huacai Liu 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.


There has been a rapid growth in using agricultural residues as an energy source to generate electricity in China. Biomass power generation (BPG) systems may vary significantly in technology, scale, and feedstock and consequently in their performances. A comparative evaluation of five typical BPG systems has been conducted in this study through a hybrid life cycle inventory (LCI) approach. Results show that requirements of fossil energy savings, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, as well as emission reductions of SO2 and NOx, can be best met by the BPG systems. The cofiring systems were found to behave better than the biomass-only fired system and the biomass gasification systems in terms of energy savings and GHG emission reductions. Comparing with results of conventional process-base LCI, an important aspect to note is the significant contribution of infrastructure, equipment, and maintenance of the plant, which require the input of various types of materials, fuels, services, and the consequent GHG emissions. The results demonstrate characteristics and differences of BPG systems and help identify critical opportunities for biomass power development in China.