In this study the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the Arundo donax production process for energy purpose is proposed. The cultivation of this type of herbaceous biomass, irrigated with urban wastewater, was carried out in an experimental field, sited in eastern Sicily (Italy). The analysis by LCA makes it possible, among other things, to evaluate the potential environmental impacts related to each phase of the process. In this study a sensitivity analysis of the LCA results were carried out by varying the process stages. Furthermore the incidence of each process stage on the damage categories by varying the cultivation- cycle length was evaluated. The stages constituting the Arundo donax production process, considered in this assessment, regard seedling production, agronomic practices, irrigation, and transport to boiler. The functional unit used in the analyses was 1 ton of biomass and crop productivity values were derived from literature. The analyses allowed to identify the most significant stages of the Arundo donax production process related to the experimental field. In detail, this study highlights that seedling production and irrigation stages contributed most of all to the overall environmental burden, whereas agronomic practices stage showed a minor influence on the process.
Arundo donax, environmental performance, damage categories.