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Ammonium nitrate fertiliser production based on biomass - environmental effects from a life cycle perspective

Ammonium nitrate fertiliser production based on biomass - environmental effects from a life cycle perspective

Bioresource Technology 99(17): 8034-8041

ISSN/ISBN: 0960-8524

PMID: 18440225

DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2008.03.041

Ammonium nitrate and calcium ammonium nitrate are the most commonly used straight nitrogen fertilisers in Europe, accounting for 43% of the total nitrogen used for fertilisers. They are both produced in a similar way; carbonate can be added as a last step to produce calcium ammonium nitrate. The environmental impact, fossil energy input and land use from using gasified biomass (cereal straw and short rotation willow (Salix) coppice) as feedstock in ammonium nitrate production were studied in a cradle-to-gate evaluation using life cycle assessment methodology. The global warming potential in the biomass systems was only 22-30% of the impact from conventional production using natural gas. The eutrophication potential was higher for the biomass systems due to nutrient leaching during cultivation, while the acidification was about the same in all systems. The primary fossil energy use was calculated to be 1.45 and 1.37MJ/kg nitrogen for Salix and straw, respectively, compared to 35.14MJ for natural gas. The biomass production was assumed to be self-supporting with nutrients by returning part of the ammonium nitrate produced together with the ash from the gasification. For the production of nitrogen from Salix, it was calculated that 3914kg of nitrogen can be produced every year from 1ha, after that 1.6% of the produced nitrogen has been returned to the Salix production. From wheat straw, 1615kg of nitrogen can be produced annually from 1ha, after that 0.6% of the nitrogen has been returned.

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Accession: 029993537

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