Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Economic Assessment of Short Rotation Willow (Salix)

crops for bioenergyGenerously funded by:

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

Meet the research team:

Professor Goretty Dias

Professor Andrew Gordan: School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph

Professor Naresh Thevathasan: School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph

Dr. Kumundinie Kariyapperuma: Research Associate, School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo

Government Partners:

Derek Sidders, Regional Coordinator and Program Manager, Canadian Wood Fiber Center, Natural Resources Canada, AB 

Mahendra Thimmanagar, Bioproducts Specialist, OMAFRA

Industry Partners:

Jim Gallant, CEO, REMASCO, Kingsville, ON 

Mohammad Rahbari, CEO, CENNATEK, Sarnia, ON 

Glenn Ruby, Ruby Farms, Kingsville, ON


Energy produced from biomass accounts for about 6% of Canada’s total energy supply. Perennial energy crops such as short-rotation woody crops have attracted the world’s attention as an essential component of the biomass supply feedstock. Willow (Salix spp.) has been recognized as one of the potential short rotation woody crops due to its favourable characters such as rapid growth rate.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is one of the widely used techniques to assess potential environmental impacts and resource use throughout a product’s life cycle. The bioenergy field has been using this technique extensively to evaluate energy balance and GHG emissions from each phase of bioenergy production. However, in North America, only a few studies have been conducted to assess energy balance and GHG emissions of the willow bioenergy production system.

The Short Rotation Willow (SRW) research site at the University of Guelph is the largest willow establishment in eastern Canada. This project was designed to conduct a comprehensive LCA and economic assessment of SRW for bioenergy, with the ultimate goal being to assess energy efficiency, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and associated economics of two production pathways for heat generation and one production pathway for ethanol production from short rotation willow (SRW) under conditions in Ontario, Canada. This project will also provide a generic life cycle inventory (LCI) database for upstream and on-farm energy systems in Ontario that can be used in other LCA studies.

Research activities and outputs:


Dias G. A Life cycle perspective on the sustainability of Willow biomass for Bioenergy. Growing the Margin Conference. London, ON Canada. March 6 2012.

Dias G. Life Cycle Analysis Framework and Model for Assessing Life Cycle Impacts and Environmental Sustainability of Ontario Agricultural Feedstocks for Bioenergy. OMAFRA Bioeconomy Highlights. Guelph, ON Canada. December 7, 2011.

Kariyapperuma K and Dias G. Life Cycle Approach to Evaluate Total Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Short Rotation Willow (Salix spp.) Crop for Bioenergy. Harnessing Biomass II Conference. North Bay, ON Canada. November 21-22, 2011.

Dias G. Life Cycle Assessment of Short Rotation Willow Crop for Bioenergy. ecoETI-CEF Workshop on Short-Rotation Afforestation & Agroforestry Systems. Guelph, ON Canada. March 1-2, 2011.

Field Days:

Field day at a pelleting facility. Cross Wood Farm, Wellesley, ON Canada. July 6, 2011.

Field day at a syngas production facility. REMASCO, Kingsville, ON Canada, Dec 15, 2011.


Dias G., Gordon A., Thevathasan N. 2011. Screening Life Cycle Analysis of a Willow Bioenergy Plantation in Southern Ontario. IEA Bioenergy Task 43, Occasional Report, March, 2011, 16 pp.9. Other (as needed):