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      Evaluation of the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Different Biomass Feedstock Electricity Generation Systems

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      Sustainability

      MDPI AG

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          Forest bioenergy or forest carbon? Assessing trade-offs in greenhouse gas mitigation with wood-based fuels.

          The potential of forest-based bioenergy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when displacing fossil-based energy must be balanced with forest carbon implications related to biomass harvest. We integrate life cycle assessment (LCA) and forest carbon analysis to assess total GHG emissions of forest bioenergy over time. Application of the method to case studies of wood pellet and ethanol production from forest biomass reveals a substantial reduction in forest carbon due to bioenergy production. For all cases, harvest-related forest carbon reductions and associated GHG emissions initially exceed avoided fossil fuel-related emissions, temporarily increasing overall emissions. In the long term, electricity generation from pellets reduces overall emissions relative to coal, although forest carbon losses delay net GHG mitigation by 16-38 years, depending on biomass source (harvest residues/standing trees). Ethanol produced from standing trees increases overall emissions throughout 100 years of continuous production: ethanol from residues achieves reductions after a 74 year delay. Forest carbon more significantly affects bioenergy emissions when biomass is sourced from standing trees compared to residues and when less GHG-intensive fuels are displaced. In all cases, forest carbon dynamics are significant. Although study results are not generalizable to all forests, we suggest the integrated LCA/forest carbon approach be undertaken for bioenergy studies.
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            Chemical and morphological characterization of sugarcane bagasse submitted to a delignification process for enhanced enzymatic digestibility

            Background In recent years, biorefining of lignocellulosic biomass to produce multi-products such as ethanol and other biomaterials has become a dynamic research area. Pretreatment technologies that fractionate sugarcane bagasse are essential for the successful use of this feedstock in ethanol production. In this paper, we investigate modifications in the morphology and chemical composition of sugarcane bagasse submitted to a two-step treatment, using diluted acid followed by a delignification process with increasing sodium hydroxide concentrations. Detailed chemical and morphological characterization of the samples after each pretreatment condition, studied by high performance liquid chromatography, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, diffuse reflectance Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy, is reported, together with sample crystallinity and enzymatic digestibility. Results Chemical composition analysis performed on samples obtained after different pretreatment conditions showed that up to 96% and 85% of hemicellulose and lignin fractions, respectively, were removed by this two-step method when sodium hydroxide concentrations of 1% (m/v) or higher were used. The efficient lignin removal resulted in an enhanced hydrolysis yield reaching values around 100%. Considering the cellulose loss due to the pretreatment (maximum of 30%, depending on the process), the total cellulose conversion increases significantly from 22.0% (value for the untreated bagasse) to 72.4%. The delignification process, with consequent increase in the cellulose to lignin ratio, is also clearly observed by nuclear magnetic resonance and diffuse reflectance Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy experiments. We also demonstrated that the morphological changes contributing to this remarkable improvement occur as a consequence of lignin removal from the sample. Bagasse unstructuring is favored by the loss of cohesion between neighboring cell walls, as well as by changes in the inner cell wall structure, such as damaging, hole formation and loss of mechanical resistance, facilitating liquid and enzyme access to crystalline cellulose. Conclusions The results presented herewith show the efficiency of the proposed method for improving the enzymatic digestibility of sugarcane bagasse and provide understanding of the pretreatment action mechanism. Combining the different techniques applied in this work warranted thorough information about the undergoing morphological and chemical changes and was an efficient approach to understand the morphological effects resulting from sample delignification and its influence on the enhanced hydrolysis results.
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              Renewable Energy from Willow Biomass Crops: Life Cycle Energy, Environmental and Economic Performance

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                SUSTDE
                Sustainability
                Sustainability
                MDPI AG
                2071-1050
                December 2016
                November 16 2016
                : 8
                : 12
                : 1181
                10.3390/su8111181
                © 2016

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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                Self URI (article page): http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/8/11/1181

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