Investigation of Biochemical Biorefinery Sizing and Environmental Sustainability Impacts for Conventional Bale System and Advanced Uniform Biomass Logistics Designs

Andrew M. Argo, Eric Cd Tan, Daniel Inman, Matt H. Langholtz, Laurence M. Eaton, Jacob J. Jacobson, Christopher T. Wright, David J. Muth, May M. Wu, Yi Wen Chiu, Robin L. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus Citations

Abstract

The 2011 US Billion-Ton Update1 estimates that there are enough agricultural and forest resources to sustainably provide enough biomass to displace approximately 30% of the country's current petroleum consumption. A portion of these resources are inaccessible at current cost targets with conventional feedstock supply systems because of their remoteness or low yields. Reliable analyses and projections of US biofuels production depend on assumptions about the supply system and biorefinery capacity, which, in turn, depend on economics, feedstock logistics, and sustainability. A cross-functional team has examined optimal combinations of advances in feedstock supply systems and biorefinery capacities with rigorous design information, improved crop yield and agronomic practices, and improved estimates of sustainable biomass availability. Biochemical-conversion-to-ethanol is analyzed for conventional bale-based system and advanced uniform-format feedstock supply system designs. The latter involves 'pre-processing' biomass into a higher-density, aerobically stable, easily transportable format that can supply large-scale biorefineries. Feedstock supply costs, logistics and processing costs are analyzed and compared, taking into account environmental sustainability metrics.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)282-302
Number of pages21
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A10-55199

Keywords

  • Advanced uniform format
  • Biochemical ethanol process
  • Biorefinery size
  • Conventional bale system
  • LCA
  • Water footprint

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