Applying Environmental Release Inventories and Indicators to the Evaluation of Chemical Manufacturing Processes in Early Stage Development

Raymond L. Smith, Eric C.D. Tan, Gerardo J. Ruiz-Mercado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus Citations

Abstract

As manufacturing processes are developed through the early stages of technology readiness, various assessments can be used to evaluate their performance. Performance indicators describe processes by transforming attributes into scores that represent desirable objectives. One type of assessment is obtained by determining the life cycle inventories of inputs and outputs for processes. For a functional unit of product, the user finds the resources used and the releases to the environment, which can be compared to results for similar processes and/or combined with other processes in the life cycle. In this work, an expanded range of process inputs and releases is modeled, including forklift/loader, fugitive, storage, boiler, and cooling tower emissions. A generic scenario approach for the cooling tower releases provides a first approximation of emission and wastewater flows. These inventory values are used in performance indicators that can be placed on a scale between fixed best- A nd worst-case limits with the GREENSCOPE methodology, thus allowing comparisons across various technologies. The processes of interest are two conversion pathways for producing cellulosic ethanol from biomass via thermochemical and biochemical routes. The results can be used in risk assessments, decision making, evaluation of research, and in spurring future technology development.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)10937-10950
Number of pages14
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Volume7
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-73333

Keywords

  • Biofuels
  • GREENSCOPE
  • Indicators
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle inventory
  • Releases
  • Sustainability

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