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Life Cycle Assessment of Polyol Fuel from Corn Stover via Fast Pyrolysis and Upgrading

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journal contribution
posted on 03.01.2018, 00:00 by Lijun Heng, Huiyan Zhang, Jun Xiao, Rui Xiao
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the fossil energy consumption and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of polyol fuel produced via corn stover fast pyrolysis and bio-oil upgrading based on life cycle assessment (LCA). The required material and energy inputs involved in the unit processes of LCA are taken from Aspen Plus simulation models established according to a demonstration plant with annual polyol output of 1000 tonnes. The eBalance software with a Chinese Life Cycle Database (CLCD) is employed to perform this task. The research results show the net fossil energy input (FEI) and the net global warming potential (GWP) of polyol fuel are respectively 0.760 MJ and 0.0444 kgCO2,eq per MJ energy output under the proposed production pathway. Compared to petroleum-based gasoline and diesel, the net FEI of polyol fuel reduces by 42.9% and 42.2% respectively and the net GWP of polyol fuel decreases by 55.1% and 56.9% accordingly. Sensitivity analysis indicates the data uncertainty of the polyol yield and the electricity consumption for bio-oil production has significant impact on the GHG emissions. The polyol fuel is expected to partly replace petroleum-based fuels.