Environmental LCA and Financial Analysis to Evaluate the Feasibility of Bio-based Sugar Feedstock Biomass Supply Globally: Part 1. Supply Chain Analysis

Carter Walker Reeb, Richard Venditti, Tyler Hays, Jesse Daystar, Ronalds Gonzalez, Stephen Kelley


Chemical production from crude oil represents a substantial percentage of the yearly fossil fuel use worldwide, and this could be partially offset by renewable feedstocks such as woody biomass and energy crops. Past techno-economic and environmental analyses have been conducted for isolated feedstocks on a regional or national scope. This study encompasses complete supply chain logistics analysis, delivered cost financial analysis, national availability, and environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) for 18 selected cellulosic feedstocks from around the world. A biochemical conversion route to monomeric sugars is assumed for estimated sugar yields and biosugar feedstock cost analysis. US corn grain was determined to have the highest delivered cost, while rice hulls in Indonesia resulted in the lowest cost of the feedstocks studied. Monomeric sugar yields from literature ranged from 358 kg BDMT-1 for US forest residues to 700 kg BDMT-1 for corn syrup. Environmental LCA was conducted in SimaPro using ecoinvent v2.2 data and the TRACI 2 impact assessment method for mid-point impacts cradle-to-incoming biorefinery gate. Carbon absorption during biomass growth contributed most substantially to the reduction of net global warming potential. Rice hulls and switchgrass resulted in the highest global warming potential, followed closely by corn and Thai sugarcane bagasse. Contribution analysis shows that chemical inputs such as fertilizer use contribute substantially to the net environmental impacts for these feedstocks.


Biomass supply feasibility; Supply chain analysis; Life cycle assessment; Delivered cost

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126