1 Introduction</h5> Industrialized countries are developing strategies to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and to favor the sustainable utilization of renewable energy resources for the production of power, thermal energy and transportation fuels. Modern bioenergy is expected to play a key role in this transformation of the energy sector ( European Commission, 2009; IDAE, 2010; IEA, 2012 ). At present, most of the solid biomass employed for energy purposes is generated as a by-product of the forest, agriculture and wood-processing sectors. However, residual materials alone are unlikely to be sufficient to meet the augmented demand that is foreseen in the coming years. Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) plantations are being investigated as a means to supply large amounts of high quality lignocellulosic biomass in a controlled, sustainable and cost effective manner ( ENCROP, 2009; Halford et al., 2010 ). In particular, the production of poplar is attracting scientific and commercial interest in many areas of the world including the Mediterranean basin ( Cañellas et al., 2012; Sixto et al., 2010; Testa et al., 2014 ), Northern Europe ( Nielsen et al., 2014; Verlinden et al., 2013 ) and North America ( Elferjani et al., 2014; Jassal et al.,
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2015
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