Advertisement

Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Methane Biocatalysis: Key Considerations and Potential Impacts

  • Robert M. Handler
  • David R. Shonnard
Chapter

Abstract

Biocatalysis offers the potential to utilize stranded sources of methane to make a wide range of fuels and chemicals. Environmental impacts are one set of criteria on which any new biocatalysis project will likely be judged, and it will be important to consider the environmental impacts of proposed new technologies across the entire life cycle of the new system. Life cycle assessment is a valuable tool that has been employed to evaluate and compare environmental impacts in several new bio-based fuel and chemical production systems. The considerations important in each key unit operation involved with a general methane biocatalysis system are discussed. A case study is briefly introduced to illustrate the potential impacts of key decisions that could be made across the entire life cycle of a potential methane biocatalysis system. The case study illustrates that through a combination of careful methane gas sourcing, innovative bioreactor technology, and an integrated system designed to recover and reuse non-lipid biomass, a system could be developed to produce bio-based liquid transportation fuels with clear greenhouse gas emissions benefits, in comparison to conventional diesel fuel. Opportunities to develop biorefinery systems involving production and recovery of high-value coproducts like ectoine may also shift the distribution of environmental impacts among products in significant ways, which will require careful consideration of the technical operations and regulatory regime influencing the biorefinery system.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The information, data, or work presented herein was funded in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), US Department of Energy, under Award Number DE-AR0000438.

References

  1. Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) (2016) GREET Life-cycle Model. Center for Transportation Research, Energy System Division. Available at greet.es.anl.gov
  2. Attanasi ED, Freeman PA (2013) Role of stranded gas in increasing global gas supplies: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1044, 57 p. Available at pubs.usgs.gov/of/2013/1044
  3. California Air Resources Board (2009) Staff report: proposed regulation to implement the low carbon fuel standard—initial statement of reasons, vol. 1: Staff Report. California Air Resources Board. Available at www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/lcfs/030409lcfs_isor_vol1.pdf
  4. Ceres Inc (2013) Flaring up: North Dakota natural gas flaring more than doubles in two years. Salmon R, Logan A. Available at www.ceres.org/resources/reports
  5. Cosmetics Europe (2012) Good sustainability practice for the cosmetics industry. Cosmetics Europe, The Personal Care Association, Brussels, Belgium. Available at www.cosmeticseurope.eu/files/4214/6521/4452/GSP_Brochure.pdfGoogle Scholar
  6. Dow Chemical Company (2016) Redefining the role of business in society: Dow 2016 Sustainability Report. Available at www.dow.com/en-us/science-and-sustainability/highlights-and-reporting
  7. Dutta A, Sahir A, Tan E, Humbird D, Snowden-Swan LJ, Meyer P, Ross J, Sexton D, Yap R, Lukas JL (2015) Process design and economics for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to hydrocarbon fuels. Thermochemical Research Pathways with In Situ and Ex Situ Upgrading of Fast Pyrolysis Vapors (No. NREL/TP-5100-62455). National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, COGoogle Scholar
  8. Elgowainy A, Han J, Cai H, Wang M, Forman GS, DiVita VB (2014) Energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission intensity of petroleum products at US refineries. Environ Sci Technol 48(13):7612–7624CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. European Union (2006) European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No. 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC. Off J Eur Union: 396Google Scholar
  10. Frank ED, Han J, Palou-Rivera I, Elgowainy A, Wang MQ (2011) Life-cycle analysis of algal lipid fuels with the GREET model. Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL. Available at greet.es.anl.gov/publicationsGoogle Scholar
  11. IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) IPCC, 2013: Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Chapter 8, anthropogenic and radiative forcing. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner GK, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex B, Midgley BM (eds) Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate changeGoogle Scholar
  12. ISO, International Standard Organization (2006) Environmental management: life cycle assessment: principles and framework. Technical Committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management. Subcommittee SC 5, Life cycle assessmentGoogle Scholar
  13. Krishna R, Ellenberger J (2002) Improving gas-liquid mass transfer in bubble columns by applying low-frequency vibrations. Chem Eng Technol 25(2):159–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lang YJ, Bai L, Ren YN, Zhang LH, Nagata S (2011) Production of ectoine through a combined process that uses both growing and resting cells of Halomonas salina DSM 5928 T. Extremophiles 15(2):303–310CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Lutz M (2013) A Bakken producer’s regional view on gas and NGL markets. Presentation at the 7th annual Platts Rockies oil & gas conference, Denver, Colorado. http://www.platts.com/IM.Platts.Content/ProductsServices/ConferenceandEvents/2013/pc318/presentations/Michael_Lutz.pdf
  16. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 2012 U.S. life cycle inventory database. Available at www.lcacommons.gov/nrel/search
  17. Strong PJ, Kalyuzhnaya M, Silverman J, Clarke WP (2016) A methanotroph-based biorefinery: potential scenarios for generating multiple products from a single fermentation. Bioresour Technol 215:314–323CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) (2017) Short-term energy outlook. Available at http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/
  19. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2009) Regulation of fuels and fuel additives: changes to renewable fuel standard program [EPA–HQ–OAR–2005–0161; FRL–8903–1]. Federal Register 74(99):24908. Available at www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/regulations.htmGoogle Scholar
  20. Van-Thuoc D, Guzmán H, Quillaguamán J, Hatti-Kaul R (2010) High productivity of ectoines by Halomonas boliviensis using a combined two-step fed-batch culture and milking process. J Biotechnol 147(1):46–51CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Weidema BP, Bauer C, Hischier R, Mutel C, Nemecek T, Reinhard J, Vadenbo CO, Wernet G (2013) Overview and methodology: data quality guideline for the ecoinvent database version 3. Swiss Centre for Life Cycle InventoriesGoogle Scholar
  22. Wocken CA, Stevens BG, Almlie JC, Schlasner SM (2013) End-use technology study – an assessment of alternative uses for associated gas. Energy and Environmental Research Center, Grand Forks, ND. Available at www.undeerc.org/bakken/pdfs/CW_Tech_Study_April-2013.pdf

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainable Futures Institute, Michigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA

Personalised recommendations