Global Warming Potential of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Biomass Stored in the Anthroposphere and Used for Bioenergy at End of Life


  • Geoffrey Guest,

    Corresponding author
    • Address correspondence to: Geoffrey Guest, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Industrial Ecology Programme, Høgskoleringen 5 (E1), 7491 Trondheim, Norway. Email:

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  • Francesco Cherubini,

  • Anders H. Strømman


There is growing interest in understanding how storage or delayed emission of carbon in products based on bioresources might mitigate climate change, and how such activities could be credited. In this research we extend the recently introduced approach that integrates biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes with the global carbon cycle (using biogenic global warming potential [GWPbio]) to consider the storage period of harvested biomass in the anthroposphere, with subsequent oxidation. We then examine how this affects the climate impact from a bioenergy resource. This approach is compared to several recent methods designed to address the same problem. Using both a 100- and a 500-year fixed time horizon we calculate the GWPbio factor for every combination of rotational and anthropogenic storage periods between 0 and 100 years. The resulting GWPbio factors range from −0.99 (1-year rotation and 100-year storage) to +0.44 (100-year rotation and 0-year storage). The approach proposed in this study includes the interface between biomass growth and emissions and the global carbon cycle, whereas other methods do not model this. These results and the characterization factors produced can determine the climate change benefits or impacts associated with the storage of biomass in the anthroposphere, and the subsequent release of biogenic CO2 with the radiative forcing integrated in a fixed time window.