Identifying the point of departures for the detailed sustainability assessment of biomass feedstocks for biorefinery: a case study of straw conversion

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch

In the light of sustainable development in the energy sector, biomasses have gained increasing attention, which have exacerbated competition among them. Biorefineries are increasing its hold in developed economies, since it facilitates the delivery of multiple products including food, feed and fuels. Lignocelluloses (e.g straw) are one of the important biomasses considered in such transition. Meanwhile, it is also relevant to examine how the current utilization of biomasses are taking place and the related environmental and economic burdens. This also allows to compare the sustainability aspects between the current application and future potentials. In Denmark, straw is widely used as a source of energy for heat and power production and for animal production. Thus, the overall sustainability and the year-round supply should be examined, particularly if it acts as a principal feedstock for biorefineries and potential impacts to the existing market. This study aims to assist in the sustainability assessment of straw conversion in the biochemical conversion routes to deliver bioethanol and other biobased products. For the comparison, conversion of straw to produce heat and electricity in a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant is analysed from a life cycle perspectives. We have found that straw conversion to heat and power in the CHP plant would lead to a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of −187 g CO2-eq, Acidification Potential (AP) 0.01 m2 UES (un-protected ecosystem), aquatic and terrestrial Eutrophication Potential (EP) 0.16 g NO3-eq and 0.008 m2 UES respectively, and Non-Renewable Energy Use (NRE use) as −0.14 MJ-primary per 1 MJ heat production. In order to reduce the environmental and economic loadings, it might be relevant: (i) to reduce the consequences related to the straw removal from field (e.g. soil quality), (ii) to lower the undesired emissions at farming system level and processing, and (iii) optimize the biomass supply by integrating catch crops and examine the overall environmental loadings e.g. in the biorefinery value chains. Nevertheless, clustering the types of biomasses based on the biorefinery platforms is relevant, since different biomasses respond differently to deliver diverse types of biobased products.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventBioValue Annual Assembly - Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830, Tjele, Tjele, Denmark
Duration: 3 Sep 20144 Sep 2014


ConferenceBioValue Annual Assembly
LocationAarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830, Tjele

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ID: 81358396