Advertisement

The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 1404–1424 | Cite as

Life cycle assessment of renewable diesel production from lignocellulosic biomass

  • Alain Wong
  • Hao Zhang
  • Amit KumarEmail author
LCA FOR ENERGY SYSTEMS AND FOOD PRODUCTS

Abstract

Purpose

Governments around the world encourage the use of biofuels through fuel standard policies that require the addition of renewable diesel in diesel fuel from fossil fuels. Environmental impact studies of the conversion of biomass to renewable diesel have been conducted, and life cycle assessments (LCA) of the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel (HDRD) are limited, especially for countries with cold climates like Canada.

Methods

In this study, an LCA was conducted on converting lignocellulosic biomass to HDRD by estimating the well-to-wheel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fossil fuel energy input of the production of biomass and its conversion to HDRD. The approach to conduct this LCA includes defining the goal and scope, compiling a life cycle inventory, conducting a life cycle impact assessment, and executing a life cycle interpretation. All GHG emissions and fossil fuel energy inputs were based on a fast pyrolysis plant capacity of 2000 dry tonnes biomass/day. A functional unit of 1 MJ of HDRD produced was adopted as a common unit for data inputs of the life cycle inventory. To interpret the results, a sensitivity analysis was performed to measure the impact of variables involved, and an uncertainty analysis was performed to assess the confidence of the results.

Results and discussion

The GHG emissions of three feedstocks studied—whole tree (i.e., chips from cutting the whole tree), forest residues (i.e., chips from branches and tops generated from logging operations), and agricultural residues (i.e., straw from wheat and barley)—range from 35.4 to 42.3 g CO2,eq/MJ of HDRD (i.e., lowest for agricultural residue- and highest for forest residue-based HDRD); this is 53.4–61.1 % lower than fossil-based diesel. The net energy ratios range from 1.55 to 1.90 MJ/MJ (i.e., lowest for forest residue- and highest for agricultural residue-based HDRD) for HDRD production. The difference in results among feedstocks is due to differing energy requirements to harvest and pretreat biomass. The energy-intensive hydroprocessing stage is responsible for most of the GHG emissions produced for the entire conversion pathway.

Conclusions

Comparing feedstocks showed the significance of the efficiency in the equipment used and the physical properties of biomass in the production of HDRD. The overall results show the importance of efficiency at the hydroprocessing stage. These findings indicate significant GHG mitigation benefits for the oil refining industry using available lignocellulosic biomass to produce HDRD for transportation fuel.

Keywords

Bio-oil Fast pyrolysis Greenhouse gas Hydrogenation-derived Life cycle assessment Lignocellulosic biomass Renewable diesel 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author would like to thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the North West Upgrading Redwater Partnership for their financial support of this research. The author acknowledges Madhumita Patel for feedback on biomass transportation modeling and Astrid Blodgett for editorial assistance.

References

  1. Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (2013) Alberta crop report Oct 2013. Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, LacombeGoogle Scholar
  2. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (2014) Agriculture statistics yearbook 2013. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development - Information Management, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  3. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (2010) Forest industry competitiveness - current facts and statistics. Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  4. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (2012) Sustainable forest management - 2012 facts and statistics. Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  5. Alberta Government (2014) Technical guidance for completing specified gas compliance reports. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development - Air and Climate Change Policy Branch, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  6. Baquero G, Esteban B, Riba JR, Rius A, Puig R (2011) An evaluation of the life cycle cost of rapeseed oil as a straight vegetable oil fuel to replace petroleum diesel in agriculture. Biomass Bioenergy 35:3687–3697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Binkley D, Fisher R (2012) Ecology and management of forest soils. Wiley, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Borjesson P (2000) Economic valuation of the environmental impact of logging residue recovery and nutrient compensation. Biomass Bioenergy 19:137–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bridgwater AV (2012) Review of fast pyrolysis of biomass and product upgrading. Biomass Bioenergy 38:68–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bridgwater AV, Peacocke GV (2000) Fast pyrolysis processes for biomass. Renew Sust Energ Rev 4:1–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bridgwater A, Meier D, Radlein D (1999) An overview of fast pyrolysis of biomass. Org Geochem 30:1479–1493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cherubini F, Bird ND, Cowie A, Jungmeier G, Schlamadinger B, Woess-Gallasch S (2009) Energy- and greenhouse gas-based LCA of biofuel and bioenergy systems: key issues, ranges and recommendations. Resour Conserv Recycl 53:434–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cherubini F, Peters GP, Berntsen T, Stromman AH, Hertwich E (2011a) CO2 emissions from biomass combustion for bioenergy: atmospheric decay and contribution to global warming. GCB Bioenergy 3:413–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cherubini F, Stromman AH, Ulgiati S (2011b) Influence of allocation methods on the environmental performance of biorefinery products - a case study. Resour Conserv Recycl 55:1070–1077CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Choudhary TV, Phillips CB (2011) Renewable fuels via catalytic hydrodeoxygenation. Appl Catal A Gen 397(1–2):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Couhert C, Commandre JM, Salvador S (2009) Is it possible to predict gas yields of any biomass after rapid pyrolysis at high temperature from its composition in cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin? Fuel 88:408–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dang Q, Yu C, Luo Z (2014) Environmental life cycle assessment of bio-fuel production via fast pyrolysis of corn stover and hydroprocessing. Fuel 131:36–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Department for Transport (2007) The renewable transport fuel obligations order 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/3072/pdfs/uksi_20073072_en.pdf
  19. Diego I, Almudena H, Maria TM, Gumersindo F (2011) Benchmarking environmental and operational parameters through co-efficiency criteria for dairy farms. Sci Total Environ 409:1786–1798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Diego I, Jens P, Javier D (2012) Life cycle assessment of transportation fuels from biomass pyrolysis. Fuel 97:812–821CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Elliott DC, Hart TR, Neuenschwander GG, Rotness LJ, Zacher AH (2009) Catalytic hydroprocessing of biomass fast pyrolysis bio-oil to produce hydrocarbon products. Environ Prog 28(3):441–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Environment Canada (2015) Renewable fuels regulations. (Government of Canada) Retrieved July 15, 2015, from http://ec.gc.ca/energie-energy/default.asp?lang=En&n=0AA71ED2-1
  23. Environment Canada (2012) National Inventory Report 1990–2010: greenhouse gas sources and sinks in Canada part 3. Ministry of Environment, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  24. Environmental Protection Agency (2015) EPA Proposes Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016, and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/documents/420f15028.pdf
  25. Environmental Protection Agency (2014) Emission factors for greenhouse gas inventories. United States Environmental Protection Agency, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  26. Eriksson E, Gillespie AR, Gustavasson L, Langvall O, Olsson M, Sathre R, Stendahl J (2007) Integrated carbon analysis of forest management practices and wood substitution. Can J Forest Res 37:671–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. European Biomass Association (2007) European Biomass Statistics 2007 - a statistical report on the contribution of biomass to the energy system in the EU 27. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  28. Furuholt E (1995) Life cycle assessment of gasoline and diesel. Resour Conserv Recycl 14:251–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Government of Alberta (2008) Renewable fuels standard. (Alberta Energy Regulator) Retrieved December 7, 2013, from http://www.energy.alberta.ca/BioEnergy/1516.asp
  30. Government of Alberta (2013a) 2013 municipal affairs population list. Government of Alberta - Municipal Services Branch, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  31. Government of Alberta (2013b) Sustainable forest management 2012 facts and statistics. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://esrd.alberta.ca/lands-forests/forest-management/forest-management-facts-statistics/default.aspx
  32. Government of Canada (2011) Energy supply and demand, by fuel type. (Statistics Canada) Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/prim72-eng.htm
  33. Government of Canada (2014) Sales of fuel used for road motor vehicles, by province and territory. Retrieved November 12, 2014, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/trade37c-eng.htm
  34. Han J, Elgowainy A, Dunn JB, Wang MQ (2013) Life cycle analysis of fuel production from fast pyrolysis of biomass. Bioresour Technol 133:421–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hansen J, Sato M, Kharecha P, Beerling D, Berner R, Masson-Delmotte V et al (2008) Target atmospheric CO2: where should humanity aim? Open Atmos Sci J 2:217–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hartman M (2008) Direct seeding - estimating the value of crop residues Agdex 519-25. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  37. Helin T, Sokka L, Soimakallio S, Pingoud K, Pajula T (2013) Approaches for inclusion of forest carbon cycle in life cycle assessment—a review. GCB Bioenergy 5:475–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hsu DD (2012) Life cycle assessment of gasoline and diesel produced via fast pyrolysis and hydroprocessing. Biomass Bioenergy 45:41–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Huijbregts MA, Norris G, Bretz R, Ciroth A, Maurice B et al (2001) Framework for modelling data uncertainty in life cycle inventories. Int J Life Cycle Assess 6(3):127–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. IEA Bioenergy Task 34 (2007) Biomass pyrolysis. IEA Bioenergy, RichlandGoogle Scholar
  41. International Organization for Standardization (2006) ISO 14010:2006 Environmental management - life cycle assessment - principles and framework. GenevaGoogle Scholar
  42. IPCC (2006) N2O emissions from managed soils, and CO2 emissions from lime and urea application. IPCC, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  43. IPCC (2007) Contribution of Working Group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  44. IPCC (2013) Working Group I contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  45. Iribarren D, Peters JF, Dufour J (2012) Life cycle assessment of transportation fuels from biomass pyrolysis. Fuel 97:812–821CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kabir MR, Kumar A (2011) Development of net energy ratio and emission factor for biohydrogen production pathways. Bioresour Technol 102(19):8972–8985CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kabir MR, Kumar A (2012) Comparison of the energy and environmental performances of nine biomass/coal co-firing pathways. Bioresour Technol 124:394–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Knothe G (2010) Biodiesel and renewable diesel: a comparison. Prog Energ Combust 36:364–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kumar A, Cameron JB, Flynn PC (2003) Biomass power cost and optimum plant size in Western Canada. Biomass Bioenergy 24(6):445–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lal R (2005) World crop residues production and implications of its use as a biofuel. Environ Int 31:575–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lal R (2008) Promise and limitations of soils to minimize climate change. J Soil Water Conserv 63(4):113A–118ACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Larson ED (2006) A review of life-cycle analysis studies on liquid biofuel systems for the transport sector. Energy Sustain Dev 10(2):109–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mahendrappa MK, Salonius PO (1982) Nutrient dynamics and growth response in a fertilized black spruce stand. Soil Sci Soc Am J 46(1):127–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mani S, Tabil LG, Sokhansanj S (2004) Grinding performance and physical properties of wheat and barley straws, corn stover and switchgrass. Biomass Bioenergy 27:339–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mann MK, Spath PL (1997) Life cycle assessment of a biomass gasification combined-cycle system. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, GoldenGoogle Scholar
  56. Miller P, Kumar A (2013) Development of emission parameters and net energy ratio for renewable diesel from Canola and Camelina. Energy 58:426–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ministry of Environment (2014) B.C. Best practices methodology for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions. Victoria, British Columbia, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  58. Mohan D, Pittman CU, Steele PH (2006) Pyrolysis of wood/biomass for bio-oil: a critical review. Energy Fuel 20:848–889CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Natural Resources Canada (2012) Study of hydrogenation derived renewable diesel as a renewable fuel option in North America. Ecoressources Consultants, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  60. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1994) Energy in synthetic fertilizers and pesticides: revisited. Environmental Sciences Division, SpringfieldGoogle Scholar
  61. Overend RP (1982) The average haul distance and transportation work factors for biomass delivered to a central plant. Biomass 2:75–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Papong S, Chom-In T, Noksa-nga S, Malakul P (2010) Life cycle energy efficiency and potentials of biodiesel production from palm oil in Thailand. Energ Policy 38:226–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Perez-Garcia J, Lippke B, Comnick J, Manriquez C (2005) An assessment of carbon pools, storage, and wood products market subsitution using life-cycle analysis results. Wood and Fiber Science: 140–148Google Scholar
  64. Peters JF, Iribarren D, Dufour J (2015) Simulation and life cycle assessment of biofuel production via fast pyrolysis and hydroupgrading. Fuel 139:441–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Piringer G, Steinberg LJ (2006) Reevaluation of energy use in wheat production in the United States. J Ind Ecol 10(1–2):149–167Google Scholar
  66. Raymer AK (2006) A comparison of avoided greenhouse gas emissions when using different kinds of wood energy. Biomass Bioenergy 30:605–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Ric H, Edward S, Andre F (2010) Greenhouse gas footprints of different biofuel production systems. Renew Sust Energ Rev 14:1661–1694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Ringer M, Putsche V, Scahill J (2006) Large-scale pyrolysis oil production: a technology assessment and economic analysis. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, GoldenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (2008) Direct seeding: estimating the value of crop residues. Retrieved September 3, 2014, from http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex2512
  70. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (2012) Alberta crop production statistics. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd12061
  71. Stripple H (2001) Life cycle assessment of road: a pilot study for inventory analysis. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, GothenburgGoogle Scholar
  72. Sultana A, Kumar A (2011) Development of energy and emission parameters for densified form of lignocellulosic biomass. Energy 36:2716–2732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sultana A, Kumar A, Harfield D (2010) Development of agri-pellet production cost and optimum size. Bioresour Technol 101:5609–5621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. U.S. Department of Energy (2009) Production of gasoline and diesel from biomass via fast pyrolysis, hydrotreating and hydrocracking. A design case. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oak RidgeGoogle Scholar
  75. U.S. Department of Energy (2012) Stabilization of fast pyrolysis oil: post processing. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oak RidgeGoogle Scholar
  76. Wang M (2011) GREET 1_2011. version 1.8c. Argonne National Laboratory, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  77. Wilhelm WW, Johnson JM, Hatfield JL, Voorhees WB, Linden DR (2004) Crop and soil productivity response to corn residue removal: a literature review. Agron J 96:1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wright MM, Daugaard DE, Satrio JA, Brown RC (2010) Techno-economic analysis of biomass fast pyrolysis to transportation fuels. Fuel 89:S2–S10CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering, Department of Mechanical EngineeringEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations