Life cycle assessment of castor-based biorefinery: a well to wheel LCA

Benyamin Khoshnevisan, Shahin Rafiee*, Meisam Tabatabaei, Hossein Ghanavati, Seyed Saeid Mohtasebi, Vajiheh Rahimi, Marzieh Shafiei, Irini Angelidaki, Keikhosro Karimi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Diminishing fossil resources and environmental concerns associated with their vast utilization have been in focus by energy policy makers and researchers. Among the different scenarios put forth to commercialize biofuels, various biorefinery concepts have aroused global interests because of their ability in converting biomass into a spectrum of marketable products and bioenergies. This study was aimed at developing different novel castor-based biorefinery scenarios for generating biodiesel and other co-products, i.e., ethanol and biogas. In these scenarios, glycerin, heat, and electricity were also considered as byproducts. Developed scenarios were also compared with a fossil reference system delivering the same amount of energy through the combustion of neat diesel. Materials and methods: Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to investigate the environmental consequences of castor biodiesel production and consumption with a biorefinery approach. All the input and output flows from the cultivation stage to the combustion in diesel engines as well as changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) were taken into account. Impact 2002+ method was used to quantify the environmental consequences. Results and discussion: The LCA results demonstrated that in comparison with the fossil reference system, only one scenario (i.e., Sc-3 with co-production of significant amounts of biodiesel and biomethane) had 16% lower GHG emissions without even considering the improving effect of SOC. Moreover, resource damage category of this scenario was 50% lower than that of neat diesel combustion. The results proved that from a life cycle perspective, energy should be given priority in biorefineries because it is essential for a biorefinery to have a positive energy balance in order to be considered as a sustainable source of energy. Despite a positive effect on energy and GHG balances, these biorefineries had negative environmental impacts on the other damage categories like Human Health and Ecosystem Quality. Conclusions: Although biorefineries offer unique features as promising solutions for mitigating climate change and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the selection of biomass processing options and management decisions can affect the final results in terms of environmental evaluations and energy balance. Moreover, if biorefineries are focused on transportation fuel production, a great deal of effort should still be made to have better environmental performance in Human Health and Ecosystem Quality damage categories. This study highly recommends that future studies focus towards biomass processing options and process optimization to guarantee the future of the most sustainable biofuels.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Volume23
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1788-1805
ISSN0948-3349
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Biofuel
  • Biorefinery
  • Castor
  • GHG mitigation
  • LCA
  • Transportation fuel

Cite this

Khoshnevisan, B., Rafiee, S., Tabatabaei, M., Ghanavati, H., Mohtasebi, S. S., Rahimi, V., ... Karimi, K. (2018). Life cycle assessment of castor-based biorefinery: a well to wheel LCA. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 23(9), 1788-1805. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-017-1383-y
Khoshnevisan, Benyamin ; Rafiee, Shahin ; Tabatabaei, Meisam ; Ghanavati, Hossein ; Mohtasebi, Seyed Saeid ; Rahimi, Vajiheh ; Shafiei, Marzieh ; Angelidaki, Irini ; Karimi, Keikhosro. / Life cycle assessment of castor-based biorefinery: a well to wheel LCA. In: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 2018 ; Vol. 23, No. 9. pp. 1788-1805.
@article{8a1cdf3f6f0e40869523c1123e4ed73b,
title = "Life cycle assessment of castor-based biorefinery: a well to wheel LCA",
abstract = "Purpose: Diminishing fossil resources and environmental concerns associated with their vast utilization have been in focus by energy policy makers and researchers. Among the different scenarios put forth to commercialize biofuels, various biorefinery concepts have aroused global interests because of their ability in converting biomass into a spectrum of marketable products and bioenergies. This study was aimed at developing different novel castor-based biorefinery scenarios for generating biodiesel and other co-products, i.e., ethanol and biogas. In these scenarios, glycerin, heat, and electricity were also considered as byproducts. Developed scenarios were also compared with a fossil reference system delivering the same amount of energy through the combustion of neat diesel. Materials and methods: Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to investigate the environmental consequences of castor biodiesel production and consumption with a biorefinery approach. All the input and output flows from the cultivation stage to the combustion in diesel engines as well as changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) were taken into account. Impact 2002+ method was used to quantify the environmental consequences. Results and discussion: The LCA results demonstrated that in comparison with the fossil reference system, only one scenario (i.e., Sc-3 with co-production of significant amounts of biodiesel and biomethane) had 16{\%} lower GHG emissions without even considering the improving effect of SOC. Moreover, resource damage category of this scenario was 50{\%} lower than that of neat diesel combustion. The results proved that from a life cycle perspective, energy should be given priority in biorefineries because it is essential for a biorefinery to have a positive energy balance in order to be considered as a sustainable source of energy. Despite a positive effect on energy and GHG balances, these biorefineries had negative environmental impacts on the other damage categories like Human Health and Ecosystem Quality. Conclusions: Although biorefineries offer unique features as promising solutions for mitigating climate change and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the selection of biomass processing options and management decisions can affect the final results in terms of environmental evaluations and energy balance. Moreover, if biorefineries are focused on transportation fuel production, a great deal of effort should still be made to have better environmental performance in Human Health and Ecosystem Quality damage categories. This study highly recommends that future studies focus towards biomass processing options and process optimization to guarantee the future of the most sustainable biofuels.",
keywords = "Environmental Science (all), Biofuel, Biorefinery, Castor, GHG mitigation, LCA, Transportation fuel",
author = "Benyamin Khoshnevisan and Shahin Rafiee and Meisam Tabatabaei and Hossein Ghanavati and Mohtasebi, {Seyed Saeid} and Vajiheh Rahimi and Marzieh Shafiei and Irini Angelidaki and Keikhosro Karimi",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1007/s11367-017-1383-y",
language = "English",
volume = "23",
pages = "1788--1805",
journal = "International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment",
issn = "0948-3349",
publisher = "Springer",
number = "9",

}

Khoshnevisan, B, Rafiee, S, Tabatabaei, M, Ghanavati, H, Mohtasebi, SS, Rahimi, V, Shafiei, M, Angelidaki, I & Karimi, K 2018, 'Life cycle assessment of castor-based biorefinery: a well to wheel LCA', International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, vol. 23, no. 9, pp. 1788-1805. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-017-1383-y

Life cycle assessment of castor-based biorefinery: a well to wheel LCA. / Khoshnevisan, Benyamin; Rafiee, Shahin; Tabatabaei, Meisam; Ghanavati, Hossein; Mohtasebi, Seyed Saeid; Rahimi, Vajiheh; Shafiei, Marzieh; Angelidaki, Irini; Karimi, Keikhosro.

In: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Vol. 23, No. 9, 2018, p. 1788-1805.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Life cycle assessment of castor-based biorefinery: a well to wheel LCA

AU - Khoshnevisan, Benyamin

AU - Rafiee, Shahin

AU - Tabatabaei, Meisam

AU - Ghanavati, Hossein

AU - Mohtasebi, Seyed Saeid

AU - Rahimi, Vajiheh

AU - Shafiei, Marzieh

AU - Angelidaki, Irini

AU - Karimi, Keikhosro

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Purpose: Diminishing fossil resources and environmental concerns associated with their vast utilization have been in focus by energy policy makers and researchers. Among the different scenarios put forth to commercialize biofuels, various biorefinery concepts have aroused global interests because of their ability in converting biomass into a spectrum of marketable products and bioenergies. This study was aimed at developing different novel castor-based biorefinery scenarios for generating biodiesel and other co-products, i.e., ethanol and biogas. In these scenarios, glycerin, heat, and electricity were also considered as byproducts. Developed scenarios were also compared with a fossil reference system delivering the same amount of energy through the combustion of neat diesel. Materials and methods: Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to investigate the environmental consequences of castor biodiesel production and consumption with a biorefinery approach. All the input and output flows from the cultivation stage to the combustion in diesel engines as well as changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) were taken into account. Impact 2002+ method was used to quantify the environmental consequences. Results and discussion: The LCA results demonstrated that in comparison with the fossil reference system, only one scenario (i.e., Sc-3 with co-production of significant amounts of biodiesel and biomethane) had 16% lower GHG emissions without even considering the improving effect of SOC. Moreover, resource damage category of this scenario was 50% lower than that of neat diesel combustion. The results proved that from a life cycle perspective, energy should be given priority in biorefineries because it is essential for a biorefinery to have a positive energy balance in order to be considered as a sustainable source of energy. Despite a positive effect on energy and GHG balances, these biorefineries had negative environmental impacts on the other damage categories like Human Health and Ecosystem Quality. Conclusions: Although biorefineries offer unique features as promising solutions for mitigating climate change and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the selection of biomass processing options and management decisions can affect the final results in terms of environmental evaluations and energy balance. Moreover, if biorefineries are focused on transportation fuel production, a great deal of effort should still be made to have better environmental performance in Human Health and Ecosystem Quality damage categories. This study highly recommends that future studies focus towards biomass processing options and process optimization to guarantee the future of the most sustainable biofuels.

AB - Purpose: Diminishing fossil resources and environmental concerns associated with their vast utilization have been in focus by energy policy makers and researchers. Among the different scenarios put forth to commercialize biofuels, various biorefinery concepts have aroused global interests because of their ability in converting biomass into a spectrum of marketable products and bioenergies. This study was aimed at developing different novel castor-based biorefinery scenarios for generating biodiesel and other co-products, i.e., ethanol and biogas. In these scenarios, glycerin, heat, and electricity were also considered as byproducts. Developed scenarios were also compared with a fossil reference system delivering the same amount of energy through the combustion of neat diesel. Materials and methods: Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to investigate the environmental consequences of castor biodiesel production and consumption with a biorefinery approach. All the input and output flows from the cultivation stage to the combustion in diesel engines as well as changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) were taken into account. Impact 2002+ method was used to quantify the environmental consequences. Results and discussion: The LCA results demonstrated that in comparison with the fossil reference system, only one scenario (i.e., Sc-3 with co-production of significant amounts of biodiesel and biomethane) had 16% lower GHG emissions without even considering the improving effect of SOC. Moreover, resource damage category of this scenario was 50% lower than that of neat diesel combustion. The results proved that from a life cycle perspective, energy should be given priority in biorefineries because it is essential for a biorefinery to have a positive energy balance in order to be considered as a sustainable source of energy. Despite a positive effect on energy and GHG balances, these biorefineries had negative environmental impacts on the other damage categories like Human Health and Ecosystem Quality. Conclusions: Although biorefineries offer unique features as promising solutions for mitigating climate change and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the selection of biomass processing options and management decisions can affect the final results in terms of environmental evaluations and energy balance. Moreover, if biorefineries are focused on transportation fuel production, a great deal of effort should still be made to have better environmental performance in Human Health and Ecosystem Quality damage categories. This study highly recommends that future studies focus towards biomass processing options and process optimization to guarantee the future of the most sustainable biofuels.

KW - Environmental Science (all)

KW - Biofuel

KW - Biorefinery

KW - Castor

KW - GHG mitigation

KW - LCA

KW - Transportation fuel

U2 - 10.1007/s11367-017-1383-y

DO - 10.1007/s11367-017-1383-y

M3 - Journal article

VL - 23

SP - 1788

EP - 1805

JO - International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

JF - International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

SN - 0948-3349

IS - 9

ER -

Khoshnevisan B, Rafiee S, Tabatabaei M, Ghanavati H, Mohtasebi SS, Rahimi V et al. Life cycle assessment of castor-based biorefinery: a well to wheel LCA. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 2018;23(9):1788-1805. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-017-1383-y