Techno-environmental assessment of the green biorefinery concept: Combining process simulation and life cycle assessment at an early design stage

Andrea Corona*, Morten Ambye-Jensen, Giovanna Croxatto Vega, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, Morten Birkved

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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    Abstract

    The Green biorefinery (GBR) is a biorefinery concept that converts fresh biomass into value-added products. The present study combines a Process Flowsheet Simulation (PFS) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to evaluate the technical and environmental performance of different GBR configurations and the cascading utilization of the GBR output. The GBR configurations considered in this study, test alternatives in the three main steps of green-biorefining: fractionation, precipitation, and protein separation. The different cascade utilization alternatives analyse different options for press-pulp utilization, and the LCA results show that the environmental profile of the GBR is highly affected by the utilization of the press-pulp and thus by the choice of conventional product replaced by the press-pulp. Furthermore, scenario analysis of different GBR configurations shows that higher benefits can be achieved by increasing product yields rather than lowering energy consumption. Green biorefining is shown to be an interesting biorefining concept, especially in a Danish context. Biorefining of green biomass is technically feasible and can bring environmental savings, when compared to conventional production methods. However, the savings will be determined by the processing involved in each conversion stage and on the cascade utilization of the different platform products.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Volume635
    Pages (from-to)100-111
    ISSN0048-9697
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • Biorefinery
    • GBR
    • LCA
    • Process simulation
    • Sustainability

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