Life Cycle Assessment of Gasoline and Diesel Produced via Fast Pyrolysis and Hydroprocessing

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


In this work, a life cycle assessment (LCA) estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and net energy value (NEV) of the production of gasoline and diesel from forest residues via fast pyrolysis and hydroprocessing, from production of the feedstock to end use of the fuel in a vehicle, is performed. The fast pyrolysis and hydrotreating and hydrocracking processes are based on a Pacific NorthwestNational Laboratory (PNNL) design report. The LCA results show GHG emissions of 0.142 kg CO2-equiv. per km traveled and NEV of 1.00 MJ per km traveled for a process using grid electricity. Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis shows a range of results, with all values better than those of conventional gasoline in 2005. Results for GHG emissions and NEV of gasoline and diesel from pyrolysis are alsoreported on a per MJ fuel basis for comparison with ethanol produced via gasification. Although pyrolysis-derived gasoline and diesel have lower GHG emissions and higher NEV than conventional gasoline does in 2005, they underperform ethanol produced via gasification from the same feedstock. GHG emissions for pyrolysis could be lowered further if electricity and hydrogen are produced from biomassinstead of from fossil sources.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2011

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-49341


  • biofuels
  • biomass
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • hydroprocessing
  • LCA
  • life-cycle assessment
  • net energy value
  • pyrolysis
  • thermochemical


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