Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Life-Cycle Inventory Analysis of Bioproducts from a Modular Advanced Biomass Pyrolysis System

Source: In: Proceedings, Society of Wood Science and Technology 57th International Convention. June 23-27, 2014. Zvolen, Slovakia: 2014; pp. 405-415.

Author(s)Bergman, Richard, PhD.; Gu, Hongmei

Publication Year: 2014  View PDF »

Category: Conference Proceedings
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4851-7B

Abstract: Expanding bioenergy production has the potential to reduce net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve energy security. Science-based assessments of new bioenergy technologies are essential tools for policy makers dealing with expanding renewable energy production. Using life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis, this study evaluated a 200-kWe modular advanced biomass pyrolysis system, referred to as the Tucker renewable natural gas (RNG) unit. Similar to pyrolysis systems except no bio-oil is produced, the Tucker RNG unit converts forest and woody residues at high temperatures in an extremely low oxygen environment to synthesis gas (syngas) and biochar. Mass and energy balances, cumulative energy consumption, and LCI flows including environmental outputs were determined. Feedstock consumption for the Tucker RNG unit was estimated at 263 kg/h of whole-tree coniferous micro-chips at 8% moisture content. A 1-h system run test was done to collect production data and sample products. The Tucker RNG unit showed a net energy gain of 12.0 MJ/kg of dry chips from the system when excluding chip transportation. Consequentially, the system had a positive (over 1.0) fossil energy replacement ratio (FERR) of 2.54, which means 2.54 MJ of bioenergy products (syngas and biochar) were produced for every 1 MJ of fossil energy consumed in the system. Including chip transportation of 4,000 km, emission data summarized from the LCI flows through SimaPro modeling showed biomass and fossil CO2 emissions of 0.43 g and 734 g, respectively, per kilogram of chips processed. The fossil CO2 emission contributions were as follows: wood chip transportation (48.7%), propane combustion (50.2%) and electricity use (1.1%). A FERR of 2.54 shows, from a life cycle perspective, that the Tucker RNG unit has a net energy gain. Additionally, co-locating the Tucker RNG unit and the wood chip source would substantially lower GHG emissions while saving energy.

Keywords: Life-cycle inventory; biochar; syngas; pyrolysis; wood chips; modular; renewable natural gas

Publication Review Process: Informally Refereed (Peer-Reviewed)

File size: 682 kb(s)

Date posted: 08/14/2014

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 68301
Current FPL Scientists associated with this product (listed alphabetically)
Bergman, Richard
Research Forest Products Technologist
Gu, Hongmei
Forest Products Technologist

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »