GREENHOUSE GAS MITIGATION POTENTIAL OF FOREST BIOFUEL ORIGINATED IN LATVIA
Keywords:greenhouse gas, forest biofuel, substitution effect
Latvia is one of the largest exporters of pellets in Europe, and at the same time share of biofuel in energy production in Latvia is also one of the largest between the developed countries. Rapid increase of biofuel production and export raises questions about sustainability of forest sector and contribution of the forest biofuel produced in Latvia to the greenhouse gas (GHG) balance in Europe. Sustainability of forest biofuel is broadly discussed issue in Baltic states; particularly, due to continuous increase of production and export of wood pellets. GHG mitigation potential of the forest biofuel is one of the sustainability aspects surrounded by multiple speculations, which has to be addressed by comprehensive comparison of GHG fluxes due to production and use of forest biofuel and substituted fossil fuel. Assessment of the GHG mitigation potential of forest biofuel is complex process requiring multiple activity data and assumptions. Particular complexity of calculation is determined by the need to use harmonized approach for the whole calculation period. The assessment of the climate change mitigation in this study is based on the methods applied in National GHG inventory and literature data on GHG emissions due to production and delivery of substituted fossil fuel and forest biomass including demolition wood. According to the study results substitution effect of the forest biofuel in Latvia continuously increases since 2000, mainly due to export of biofuel, reaching 14323 Gg CO2 eq. in 2020 (by 30% more than the net GHG emissions in Latvia in 2019). Electricity production in pellet factories, in spite of major reduction of GHG emissions in the production process, has minor role in the total substitution effect.