Chapter 14: Sustainable Biomass Conversion Process Assessment

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Process intensification and integration for sustainable design play an essential role in addressing and alleviating severe sustainable development challenges. It is prudent to evaluate a process design in its early stage development to ensure the process can achieve sustainability goals. The primary goal of a sustainability evaluation is to assess the impact of systems on areas sought to be protected and maintained over time, such as human well-being and ecosystems (Schaubroeck, T. and Rugani, B. (2017). A revision of what life cycle sustainability assessment should entail: towards modeling the net impact on human well-being. Journal of Industrial Ecology 21 (6): 1464-1477). Parenthetically, sustainable process design to convert biomass to fuels and chemicals plays an integral part in the bioeconomy sustainability. It is recognized that the integration of sustainability in process design is core to the mission in developing renewable fuels and should be considered a necessary practice in biorefinery design. This study demonstrates the use of Gauging Reaction Effectiveness for ENvironmental Sustainability of Chemistries with a multi-Objective Process Evaluator (GREENSCOPE) as a tool to help track progress on process sustainability performance attributed to conversion improvement. With the incorporation of a wide range of indicators, GREENSCOPE captures the multi-dimensional aspect of the process design and operation. As opposed to conventional techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment (in which the focuses are limited to economic and environmental aspects), GREENSCOPE enables the consideration of process intensification and integration for sustainable design. A high-octane gasoline production from woody biomass feedstock is used as a case study to demonstrate the approach.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationProcess Intensification and Integration for Sustainable Design
EditorsD. C. Y. Foo, M. M. El-Halwagi
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-5100-75111


  • biomass
  • biorefinery
  • sustainability


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