Sustainability in willow cultivation : A case study with scenario simulation in CoupModel

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekologi; KTH/Industriell ekologi

Author: Helena Falk; Sofia Tyvik; [2014]

Keywords: ;


One of Sweden’s visions set to be real before 2050 is to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources; this could be done partly by using biomass as a substitute. One kind of common energy crop is short-rotation willow coppice (SRWC) which is a fast growing energy crop cultivated by farmers in the agricultural landscape. In this report a SRWC cultivation in Västergörland, Sweden was studied and modelled with CoupModel to evaluate the sustainability in the cultivation, especially focusing on the green house gas balance in the system and eutrophication enhancing substances. One reference case and two different scenarios where modelled and evaluated (with enhanced fertilizing and a different climate) and a brief economic calculation was made for the farmer and the thermal station that buys the SWRC to judge the economic sustainability in the system. The study showed that there are several advantages with SRWC cultivation. In the studied case it was an economically sustainable substitute to fossil fuels, and an economically profitable crop for the farmer. It contributes to a renewable fuel mix and therefore to a reduced climate impact, and it appears to contribute less to eutrophication than traditional agricultural crops. In an area where the SRWC does not restrain food production it might be a sustainable energy source. 

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