Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 36485–36502 | Cite as

Life cycle assessment of a bioelectrochemical system as a new technological platform for biosuccinic acid production from waste

  • Amandine Foulet
  • Théodore Bouchez
  • Elie Desmond-Le Quéméner
  • Lucas Giard
  • Laure Renvoisé
  • Lynda AissaniEmail author
Research Article


Waste management is a key environmental and socio-economic issue. Environmental concerns are encouraging the use of alternative resources and lower emissions to air, water and soil. Innovative technologies to deal with waste recovery that produce marketable bioproducts are emerging. Bioelectrochemical synthesis systems (BESs) are based on the primary principle of transforming organic waste into added-value products using microorganisms to catalyse chemical reactions. This technology is at the core of a research project called BIORARE (BIoelectrosynthesis for ORganic wAste bioREfinery), an interdisciplinary project that aims to use anaerobic digestion as a supply chain to feed a BES and produce target biomolecules. This technology needs to be driven by environmental strategies. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used to evaluate the BIORARE concept based on expert opinion and prior experiments for the production of biosuccinic acid and waste management. A multidisciplinary approach based on biochemistry and process engineering expertise was used to collect the inventory data. The BES design and the two-step anaerobic digestion process have many potential impacts on air pollution or ecotoxicity-related categories. The comparison of the BIORARE concept with conventional fermentation processes and a water-fed BES technology demonstrated the environmental benefit resulting from the use of both the BES technology and a waste-based substrate as input thus supporting the BIORARE concept. Some trade-offs among the impact categories were identified but led to options to improve the concept. BES design and synergy management may improve the environmental performance of the BIORARE concept.


Life cycle assessment Biorefinery Anaerobic digestion Biogas plant Synergies Succinic acid 



The authors would like to thank the French National Research Agency for supporting the BIORARE project (ANR-10-BTBR-02).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UR OPAALEIrsteaRennesFrance
  2. 2.UR HBANIrsteaAntonyFrance
  3. 3.LBEINRANarbonneFrance
  4. 4.Suez Environnement-CIRSEELe PecqFrance

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