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      Techno-economic analysis and climate change impacts of sugarcane biorefineries considering different time horizons

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          Abstract

          Background

          Ethanol production from lignocellulosic feedstocks (also known as 2nd generation or 2G ethanol process) presents a great potential for reducing both ethanol production costs and climate change impacts since agricultural residues and dedicated energy crops are used as feedstock. This study aimed at the quantification of the economic and environmental impacts considering the current and future scenarios of sugarcane biorefineries taking into account not only the improvements of the industrial process but also of biomass production systems. Technology assumptions and scenarios setup were supported by main companies and stakeholders, involved in the lignocellulosic ethanol production chain from Brazil and abroad. For instance, scenarios considered higher efficiencies and lower residence times for pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation (including pentoses fermentation); higher sugarcane yields; and introduction of energy cane (a high fiber variety of cane).

          Results

          Ethanol production costs were estimated for different time horizons. In the short term, 2G ethanol presents higher costs compared to 1st generation (1G) ethanol. However, in the long term, 2G ethanol is more competitive, presenting remarkable lower production cost than 1G ethanol, even considering some uncertainties regarding technology and market aspects. In addition, environmental assessment showed that both 1G (in the medium and long term) and 2G ethanol can reduce climate change impacts by more than 80% when compared to gasoline.

          Conclusions

          This work showed the great potential of 2G ethanol production in terms of economic and environmental aspects. These results can support new research programs and public policies designed to stimulate both production and consumption of 2G ethanol in Brazil, accelerating the path along the learning curve. Some examples of mechanisms include: incentives to the establishment of local equipment and enzyme suppliers; and specific funding programs for the development and use of energy cane.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13068-017-0722-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references22

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          Fuel ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass: An overview on feedstocks and technological approaches

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            Techno-economic evaluation of integrated first- and second-generation ethanol production from grain and straw

            Background Integration of first- and second-generation ethanol production can facilitate the introduction of second-generation lignocellulosic ethanol production. Consolidation of the second-generation with the first-generation process can potentially reduce the downstream processing cost for the second-generation process as well as providing the first-generation process with energy. This study presents novel experimental results from integrated first- and second-generation ethanol production from grain and wheat straw in a process development unit. The results were used in techno-economic evaluations to investigate the feasibility of the plant, in which the main co-products were distiller’s dried grains with solubles and biogas. Results An overall glucose to ethanol yield, of 81 % of the theoretical, based on glucose available in the raw material, was achieved in the experiments. A positive net present value was found for all the base case scenarios and the minimal ethanol selling price varied between 0.45 and 0.53 EUR/L ethanol. The revenue increased with combined xylose and glucose fermentation and biogas upgrading to vehicle fuel quality. A decrease in the biogas yield from 80 to 60 % also largely affects the net present value. The energy efficiency for the energy content in products available for sale compared with the incoming energy content varied from 74 to 80 %. Conclusions One of the two main configurations can be chosen when designing an integrated first- and second-generation ethanol production plant from grain and straw: that producing biogas or that producing distiller’s dried grains with solubles from the xylose sugars. The choice depends mainly on the local market and prices for distiller’s dried grains with solubles and biogas, since the prices for both co-products have fluctuated a great deal in recent years. In the current study, however, distiller’s dried grains with solubles were found to be a more promising co-product than biogas, if the biogas was not upgraded to vehicle fuel quality. It was also concluded that additional experimental data from biogas production using first- and second-generation substrates are required to obtain improved economic evaluations.
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              Challenges and opportunities in improving the production of bio-ethanol

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                tassia.junqueira@bioetanol.org.br
                mateus.chagas@bioetanol.org.br
                vera.gouveia@bioetanol.org.br
                mylene.rezende@bioetanol.org.br
                marcos.watanabe@bioetanol.org.br
                charles.jesus@bioetanol.org.br
                otavio.cavalett@bioetanol.org.br
                milan@bndes.gov.br
                antonio.bonomi@bioetanol.org.br
                Journal
                Biotechnol Biofuels
                Biotechnol Biofuels
                Biotechnology for Biofuels
                BioMed Central (London )
                1754-6834
                14 March 2017
                14 March 2017
                2017
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0445 0877, GRID grid.452567.7, Laboratório Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia do Bioetanol (CTBE), , Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM), ; Caixa Postal 6192, Campinas, SP CEP 13083-970 Brazil
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0723 2494, GRID grid.411087.b, Faculdade de Engenharia Química, , Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), ; Campinas, SP Brazil
                [3 ]Departamento de Biocombustíveis, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES), Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil
                Article
                722
                10.1186/s13068-017-0722-3
                5348788
                28293288
                5198d32c-b844-4e96-b2e6-90ecdd19bcb6
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001807, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo;
                Award ID: 2010/17139-3
                Award ID: 2011/51902-9
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100003545, Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação;
                Categories
                Research
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Biotechnology
                ethanol,sugarcane,energy cane,production costs,climate change
                Biotechnology
                ethanol, sugarcane, energy cane, production costs, climate change

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