Estimating the bioenergy potential of Pinus radiata plantations in Chile
The bioenergy potential for electricity and ethanol production of Pinus radiata D. Don plantations in Chile was modeled, on a regional basis, using radiata pine plantations areas by age class. Wood basic density equations based on age and growing region, wood moisture content variability, and the effciency of a hypothetical power plant were used to estimate the amount of electricity produced by biomass at harvesting age including logging residues. Bioethanol yield was estimated at 275 L t-1 of dry biomass. The uncertainty of the bioenergy production were analyzed using probabilistic distribution functions and an estimate of 1.83 million ha-1 of radiata pine plantations by year 2030. Parameters considered for the uncertainty analyses included the rotation age, mean annual increment, annual planting rate, logging residue production by harvesting age, and power plant effciency. Simulations were projected for 20 years (2010-2030). The results of our model suggest that biomass of logging residues and bolewood of radiata pine plantations would produce 294.8 PJ by 2008, which would cover 83.4% of the current installed capacity of the Chile Power Central Interconnected System, and could increase to four times the 2008 estimate (381%) by 2030. Model predictions suggest that bioethanol produced using biomass residues could supply 15 to 25% of gasoline blends at 2% (E98) and 5% (E95), respectively, by year 2010. Bolewood biomass could supply 76% and 190%.