Ranjan Parajuli

Videnskabelig assistent

Ranjan Parajuli
Se relationer på Aarhus Universitet


Project title: 
Environmental Sustainability Assessment of Biomass and Biorefinery Production Chains: Using a Life Cycle Assessment Approach 

Project description:

A more sustainable natural resource management is urgently needed to fulfil the future energy, food and materials demands for the human society. Such fundamental needs have been realized reaching a crisis point in the near future, because of their higher nexus with fossil fuel, and the scarcity of natural resources. This actually is linked with the sustainability of agro-ecological systems, upon which material needs, resource generation and consumptions are linked. It has thus stressed to carefully estimate and evaluate the increased biomass production and supply potentials, especially to cover the future demad of bioenergy and biochemicals. Sustainability assessment of the biomass conversions is inevitably important. 

This highlights the need to delineate the structure and mechanism to:

(i)  reduce the fossil fuel intensity in the production of various materials and chemicals

(ii) check the potential competition among food-feed-fuel, and accompanied direct and indirect land use impacts,

(iii) assess potential sustainable diversification of biomass use and

(iv) assess consequences of the diversification/utilization of various forms of bioenergy and biomass with respect to their current applications.

It is evident that increased re-circulation/re-use of materials is necessary for more sustainable conversion of biomasses. A wider range of innovations in the form of “biorefineries” is now emerging to create new ways of generating bioenergy and biobased products in entirely new types of value chains, and are believed to have better economic returns. Nonetheless, a system-wide sustainability of biorefineries, in general, is greatly influenced by the type of biomass feedstocks, types of conversion processes and extent of material processing in biorefineries. Furthermore, it is also important to optimize the production of biobased products with minimum ecoogical impacts. This makes relevant to evaluate how production of different biomasses would respond to a wider and important environmental concerns (e.g. soil quality, greenhouse gas balance, nitrogen balance; and emissions related to processing, storage and supply of biomass etc.). Furthermore, it is equally important to evaluate how biobased products can make a tradeoff with the conventional/fossil-based products. This demands a comprehensive analysis of biorefinery value chains; covering the entire flows starting from biomass production to the production of biobased products.

This study is concerned to assess initially the environmental performance of producing biomass feedstocks at the farm gate level. Three broader categories of feedstocks-Yellow (e.g. straw), Green (grasses and grass-legumes) and Grey/woody (e.g. willow) are considered as principal sources of feedstocks for the assessment. Addtionally, the study also evaluate environmental footprints of producing biobased products from the agriculture residues and the green biomasses. The study is connected to the Socio-economics, Sustainability and Ethics project of the Bio-Value SPIR platform (www.biovalue.dk).

ID: 54397426