Rice, as a main crop, contributes to food security in Asia. However, its by-product, rice straw, poses challenges as it is often disposed of unsustainably. This research investigates the environmental performance of a 1000 m3 rice straw biogas pilot plant in Laguna, Philippines. A lifecycle assessment identified the climate change impact of the biogas system, straw burning and soil incorporation. In addition to GWP100, the global temperature potential's dynamic climate effects were assessed, including integrated radiative forcing and instantaneous temperature effects. The timeframe of the biogenic emission fluxes of rice production is particularly relevant as the sequestered CO2 during plant growth is partly released as methane and CO2, depending on the straw management practices. Straw burning had the highest net emission impact. However, straw incorporation has the highest short-term radiative forcing and temperature increase. The biogas system provided significant short- and long-term GHG emission reduction of up to 68 % when biogas replaced burning or soil incorporation and the use of fossil fuels. Still, considerable uncertainties remain about fugitive methane emissions, handling and post-processing of the digestate. While single GHG emission figures on a GWP100 basis are useful for informing decision-making, this single-metric approach limits understanding of rice production's short- and long-term impacts. Additionally, our assessment emphasises the necessity for governance frameworks that promote sustainable practices in rice farming, as banning rice straw burning may result in less favourable outcomes from soil incorporation, whereas integrating biogas offers a solution benefiting rice-growing communities and global sustainability efforts.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2024, The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
- Rice straw
- Lifecycle assessment
- Biogenic emissions
- Temporal climate change impacts