• Vol 9, No 8 (2018)
  • Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Engineering

Life Cycle of Biomass Blending in Electricity Generation: An Environmental and Economic Assessment

Shafini Mohd Shafie, Zakirah Othman, Norsiah Hami

Cite this article as:
Shafie, S.M., Othman, Z.Hami, N., 2018. Life Cycle of Biomass Blending in Electricity Generation: An Environmental and Economic Assessment. International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(8), pp. 1681-1691
Shafini Mohd Shafie School of Technology Management and Logistics, College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06000 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Zakirah Othman School of Technology Management and Logistics, College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06000 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Norsiah Hami School of Technology Management and Logistics, College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06000 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Email to Corresponding Author


Recently, biomass resources have faced issues with the security of resources supply. Biomass blending could provide the solution to overcome this limitation. This study aimed to determine the life cycle assessment of the biomass blending of paddy residue, cash crop, industrial crop, and garden waste in electricity generation. The analysis are related to environmental and cost assessments. The life cycle includes the process of crop production, crop collection, transportation, collection center, and power plant. The results obtained the range for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, varying from 0.02 kg CO2EQ/kWh to 6400.04 kg CO2EQ/kWh, whereas the cost varied from RM0.01/kWh to RM16.10/kWh. The transportation process is the most critical process requiring extra extension, due to the high GHG emissions and consumption cost for that process. The output from this research is hoped to serve as the guideline for biomass utilization development in Malaysia. 

Biomass blending; Economics; Electricity generation; Environment; Life cycle assessment


Biomass is seen as one of the key options in the mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the substitution of conventional electrical generation methods. Due to the current climate change issue, many researchers are recommending the reuse of waste and the reduction of environmental pollution (Zakareta & Shafie, 2016; Hossain et al., 2017). These recommendations are also due to the resources security of the conventional fuel supply. At present, biomass resources comprise about 10% of global energy sources, where half of biomass energy generated are used in developing countries for domestic consumption. The countries that fully utilize biomass energy sources are Brazil, the United States, and India (Schill, 2013). In the United Kingdom, one of the main biomass initiatives is the implementation of a combined heat power plant with a 10 MW capacity at Heathrow Airport, helping the airport meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 34% (Tagliaferri et al., 2018).

Biomass blending should focus on eliminating the constraints of biomass supply. A majority of biomass resources are seasonal, within a period of one to six months to obtain output. However, most available studies regarding biomass energy are limited to a single biomass type only (Özdenkçi et al., 2017). Kedah is well known as the rice bowl of Malaysia and the country generates an abundance of rice paddy residue (roughly 7 million tons) (Shafie, 2015).

The utilization of garden waste for electricity generation could provide purpose for the unused wood waste in this region, most of which is currently sent to landfills. Only 2% of this waste is used as fertilizer (Zakareta & Shafie, 2016). Maize and coconut waste also have the potential to be used as boiler fuel. While there are many studies regarding biomass energy (Abdul Malek et  al., 2017), knowledge about the environmental impact of the whole electricity generation life cycle is still very limited. This study analyses the life cycle assessment (LCA) of biomass blending in electricity production with a focus on the state of Kedah. The LCA of the environmental and life cycle costs (LCC) inherent in blending potential biomass resources towards electricity generation in the northern region will be investigated.


This paper determined the GHG emissions created by electricity generation, based on different crop bases. The results ranged from 0.02 kg CO2EQ/kWh to 6,400.04 kg CO2EQ/kWh. Meanwhile, the costs varied from RM0.01 /kWh to RM16.10 /kWh. The transportation process requires extra extension due to its high GHG emissions and high consumption costs. This paper can offer help as a guideline and provide information for decision maker to create future policies in biomass energy.


This research was financially supported by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (FRGS-13260/2015). The authors would like to thank the reviewers and associate editor for their comments that have improved this manuscript.


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