Case studies

Biofuels greenhouse gas calculator

Client: HGCA, Division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Consultant: Dr Jeremy Woods, Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP)

Expertise: Development of advanced biorenewables

Our consultants shared their expertise in  advanced biorenewables to help HGCA to accurately calculate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from the growth and production of raw materials for biofuels, which also allows the emissions to be compared with those from other fossil-based fuels.

The Challenge

Biofuels are seen as one of the leading solutions to the energy crisis and the government is keen to promote their production and use over fossil fuels.

Whilst encouragingly ‘green’, biofuels are not carbon neutral; although carbon produced by burning them has been offset by carbon absorbed during growth, it can be emitted during each production stage, including harvesting, processing and transportation.

The HGCA, a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, is funded by growers, dealers and processors of cereals and oilseeds and carries out research and development, market information and supporting activities for the benefit of this sector.

They required a tool that would allow users to accurately calculate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from the growth and production of raw materials for biofuels.


The Solution

The HGCA sought out the expertise of Dr Jeremy Woods who worked together with colleagues from the Centre for Environmental Policy to produce a model that takes each stage into consideration including the process and technology involved in the production of a biofuel, and how this contributes to GHG emissions.

He converted the model into an interactive tool to calculate the overall GHG emissions of biofuels, produced specifically from wheat and oilseed rape.


The Impact

Designed with scientific rigour and independent authority, through Imperial Consultants, the tool enables users to see how changes made in management practices or inputs could affect the overall GHG emissions of the resulting ethanol production.

Emissions generated from the production of a particular biofuel can now be compared with other fossil-based fuels.

The Biofuel Greenhouse Gas Calculator is now available on the HGCA website for all users to access:

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