Natural Resources Research

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 65–84 | Cite as

Cost Analysis and Life-Cycle Environmental Impacts of Three Value-Added Novel Bioproducts: Processing and Production

  • Emmanuel K. YiridoeEmail author
  • Qiaojie Chen
  • Rodney Fry
  • Derek Lynch
  • Gordon Price


A life-cycle assessment framework was used to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with processing, producing, and marketing three novel value-added bioproducts, intended as substitutes for peat growing media and soil amendments, namely: dried composted forestry bark (DCFB); dehydrated topdressing (DTD); and organic bio-fertilizer (OBF). Total cost of processing and producing the final bioproducts ($ t−1) was highest for OBF and lowest for DCFB. Environmental and ecological impacts were quantified and compared using indicators commonly used in the scholarly literature to capture global warming, and human and eco-toxicity impacts. Global warming impacts (measured in terms of total CO2-equivalent of dehydrated final bioproduct) were highest for OBF, followed by DTD, and then DCFB. Among the human and eco-toxicity indicators considered, NO x emissions were highest, followed by SO2, and lowest for CO emissions, for all three bioproducts.


Environmental impact indicators Value-added bioproducts Peat 



Funding for this research from Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is gratefully acknowledged. The authors are also grateful to several staff at Envirem Organics Inc., New Brunswick, Canada, for providing technical information and data used in the research.


  1. Alexander, P. D., Bragg, N. C., Meade, R., Padelopoulos, G., & Watts, O. (2008). Peat in horticulture and conservation: The UK response to a changing world. Mires and Peat, 3, 1–10.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, P., & Kovach, M. (2000). The capitalist composition of organic: The potential of markets in fulfilling the promise or organic agriculture. Agriculture and Human Values, 17(3), 221–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amenumey, S. E., & Capel, P. D. (2013, December). Fertilizer consumption and energy input for 16 crops in the United States. Natural Resources Research 1–11.Google Scholar
  4. Audsley, E., Alber, S., Clift, R., Cowell, S., Crettaz, P., Gaillard, G., Hausheer, J., Jolliet, O., Kleijn, R., Mortensen, B., Pearce, D., Roger, E., Teuleon, H., Weidema, B., & van Zejts, H. (1997). Harmonization of environmental life cycle assessment for agriculture. Final Report, Concerted Action AIR3-CT94-2028 EU. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  5. Bustamante, M. A., Paredes, C., Moral, R., Agulló, E., Pérez-Murcia, M. D., & Abad, M. (2008). Composts from distillery wastes as peat substitutes for transplant production. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 52(5), 792–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Canada Revenue Agency. (2011). Corporation tax rates (Available online). Accessed Oct 12, 2011, from
  7. Chauhan, M. K., Varun, S. C., & Kumar, S. S. (2011). Life cycle assessment of sugar industry: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15(7), 3445–3453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Conacher, J., & Conacher, A. (1998). Organic farming and the environment, with particular reference to Australia: A review. Biological Agriculture & Horticulture, 16(2), 145–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Consoli, F., Allen, D., Bounstead, I., Fava, J., Franklin, W., Jensen, A. A., et al. (1993). Guidelines for life-cycle assessment: a ‘code of practice’. Washington, DC: Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.Google Scholar
  10. Daigle, J. Y., & Gimbutaitė-Daigle, H. (2001). Canadian Peat harvesting and the environment. The Sustaining Wetlands Issues Paper, No. 2001-1 (2nd ed.). Ottawa, ON: North American Wetlands Conservation Council Committee.Google Scholar
  11. Environment Canada. (2011). Canada’s national inventory report 1990–2009. Gatineau, QC: Environment Canada.Google Scholar
  12. Environment Canada. (2011b). Electricity generation (Available online). Assessed June 2012, from
  13. Environment Canada. (2010). GHG emissions quantification guidance (Available online). Assessed June 2012, from
  14. Finnveden, G., Johansson, J., Lind, P., & Moberg, Å. (2005). Life cycle assessment of energy from solid waste—part 1: General methodology and results. Journal of Cleaner Production, 13, 213–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Finnveden, G., Hauschild, M. Z., Ekvall, T., Guinȇe, J., Heijungs, R., Hellweg, S., et al. (2009). Recent developments in life cycle assessment. Journal of Environmental Management, 91(1), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gimbutaitė, I., & Venckus, Z. (2008). Air pollution burning different kinds of wood in small power boilers. Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management, 16(2), 97–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. González-García, S., Hospido, A., Feijoo, G., & Moreira, M. T. (2010). Life cycle assessment of raw materials for non-wood pulp mills: Hemp and flax. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 54(11), 923–930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Government of Australia. (2001). Australia: State of the environment. Canberra: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Available online). Accessed Sep 20, 2012, from
  19. Government of Canada. (2010). Canadian greenhouse gas emissions 1990 to 2008 (Available online). Assessed June 2012, from
  20. Harris, R. A., & Phillips, D. R. (1986). Density of selected wood fuels. Georgia Forest Research Paper, 61, 6.Google Scholar
  21. Hood, G. (1999). Canadian peat harvesting and its effects on the environment. Edmonton, AB: Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association.Google Scholar
  22. Huo, H., Wang, M., Bloyd, C., & Putsche, V. (2009). Life-cycle assessment of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of soybean-derived biodiesel and renewable fuels. Environmental Science and Technology, 43(3), 750–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Inbar, Y., Chen, Y., & Hadar, Y. (1986). The use of composted separated cattle manure and grape marc as peat substitute in horticulture. Acta Horticulturae, 178, 147–154.Google Scholar
  24. International Organization for Standardization (ISO). (2006). ISO 14040:2006(E) environmental management: Life cycle assessment—Principles and framework. Geneva: ISO.Google Scholar
  25. Klöpffer, W. (1997). Life cycle assessment: From the beginning to the current state. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 4(4), 223–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leonard, H. C. (2011). NB Power 2010/11 annual report. Fredericton, NB: NB Power.Google Scholar
  27. Lundie, S., & Peters, G. M. (2005). Life cycle assessment of food waste management options. Journal of Cleaner Production, 13, 275–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moberg, Å., Finnved, G., Johansson, J., & Lind, P. (2005). Life cycle assessment of energy from solid waste—Part 2: Landfilling compared to other treatment methods. Journal of Cleaner Production, 13, 231–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mohee, R., & Beeharry, R. P. (1999). Life cycle analysis of compost incorporated sugarcane bioenergy systems in Mauritius. Biomass and Bioenergy, 17(1), 73–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nappi, P., & Barberris, R. (1993). Compost as growing medium: Chemical, physical and biological aspects. Acta Horticulturae, 342, 249–256.Google Scholar
  31. Natural Resources Canada. (2009). Canadian vehicle survey 2007. Ottawa, ON: Energy Publications.Google Scholar
  32. Nguyen, T. T., Gheewala, S. H., & Bonnet, S. (2008). Life cycle cost analysis of fuel ethanol produced from cassava in Thailand. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 13(7), 564–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pimentel, D., & Patzel, T. (2005). Ethanol production using corn, switchgrass, and wood; biodiesel production using soybean and sunflower. Natural Resources Research, 14(1), 65–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Polprasert, C. (2007). Organic waste recycling: Technology and management. London: IWA Publishing.Google Scholar
  35. Poulin, M., Rochefort, L., Pellerin, S., & Thibault, J. (2004). Threats and protection for peatlands in eastern Canada. Géocarrefour, 79(4), 331–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rajaram, V., Siddiqui, F. Z., & Khan, M. E. (2011). From landfill gas to energy: Technologies and challenges. New York: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  37. Rebitzer, G., Ekvall, T., Frischknecht, R., Hunkeler, D., Norrise, G., Rydberg, T., et al. (2004). Life cycle assessment: Part 1: Framework, goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, and applications. Environment International, 30(5), 701–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Roulet, N. T. (2000). Peatlands, carbon storage, greenhouse gases, and the Kyoto protocol prospects and significance for Canada. Biomedical and Sciences, 20(4), 605–615.Google Scholar
  39. Roy, P., Nei, D., Orikasa, T., Xu, Q., Okadome, H., Nakamura, N., et al. (2009). A review of life cycle assessment (LCA) on some food products. Journal of Food Engineering, 90(1), 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Scott, M. (1992). Commission of inquiry into peat and peatlands. Commissioner’s Report: Conclusion and Recommendations. London: Plantlife.Google Scholar
  41. Suh, S., Lenzen, M., Treloar, G. J., Hondo, H., Horvath, A., Huppes, G., et al. (2004). System boundary selection in life-cycle inventories using hybrid approaches. Environmental Science and Technology, 38(3), 657–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. The University of New South Wales. (2006). Life cycle inventory and life cycle assessment for windrow composting systems. Sydney: Department of Environment and Conservation NSW.Google Scholar
  43. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2007). Climate change 2007: The science of climate change. Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). (1995). Compilation of air pollutant emission factors. Volume I: Stationary point and area sources. Washington, DC: EPA.Google Scholar
  45. United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). (2006). Solid waste management and greenhouse gases: A life cycle assessment of emissions and sinks (3rd ed.) (Available online). Washington, DC: Office of Solid Waste, US Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed Dec 2012, from
  46. Warner, B. G., Clymo, R. S., & Tolonen, K. (1993). Implications of peat accumulation at Point Escuminac, New Brunswick. Quaternary Research, 39(2), 245–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. World Energy Council. (2007). Peat. In 2007 Survey of energy resources. London: World Energy Council.Google Scholar
  48. Wu, M., Wu, Y., & Wang, M. (2006). Energy and emission benefits of alternative transportation liquid fuels derived from switchgrass: A fuel life cycle assessment. Biotechnology Progress, 22, 1012–1024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yiridoe, E. K., & Q. Chen. (2013). Economic analysis of novel bioproducts: Life cycle and cost analysis of novel bio-products processing and production. Technical Report, Prepared for Envirem Organic Inc., Miramichi, NB.Google Scholar
  50. Yiridoe, E. K., Gordon, R., & Brown, B. B. (2009). Nonmarket cobenefits and economic feasibility of on-farm biogas energy production. Energy Policy, 37(3), 1170–1179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel K. Yiridoe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qiaojie Chen
    • 1
  • Rodney Fry
    • 2
  • Derek Lynch
    • 3
  • Gordon Price
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Business and Social SciencesDalhousie UniversityTruroCanada
  2. 2.Envirem Organics Inc.FrederictonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Plant and Animal SciencesDalhousie UniversityTruroCanada
  4. 4.Department of EngineeringDalhousie UniversityTruroCanada

Personalised recommendations