Ano
2013

Autores
Souza, S. P., & Seabra, J. E.

Environmental benefits of the integrated production of ethanol and biodiesel



Referência Bibliográfica: Souza, S. P., & Seabra, J. E. (2013). Environmental benefits of the integrated production of ethanol and biodiesel. Applied Energy, 102, 5-12.

Periódico: Applied Energy
DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2012.09.016

Resumo: The biorefinery of the future will be an integrated complex that makes a variety of products (e.g., biofuels, chemicals, power and protein) from a variety of feedstocks. The objective of this work was to evaluate the environmental benefits, compared to the traditional sugarcane ethanol system, of the integrated production of ethanol and biodiesel through a sugarcane–soybean biorefinery concept in Brazil. The environmental aspects considered here were the fossil energy use and the greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions associated with ethanol production. In the Integrated System, soybean would be cultivated in part of the sugarcane reforming areas, which represents ∼17% of the total sugarcane area. Sugarcane and soybean oil would be processed in a combined ethanol–biodiesel plant, which would use only bagasse as fuel. All the demand for utilities of the biodiesel plant would be provided by the distillery. The output products of the combined plant would comprise sugarcane ethanol, soybean biodiesel (which would be used as diesel (B5) substitute in the sugarcane cultivation), bioelectricity and glycerin. The results indicate that the Integrated System can reduce the fossil energy consumption from 75 to 37 kJ/MJ of ethanol, when compared to the traditional system. For GHG emissions, the value would drop from 22.5 to 19.7 g CO2eq/MJ of ethanol. This analysis shows that the Integrated System is an important option to contribute to ethanol’s life cycle independence from fossil resources. This is an attractive environmental aspect, but socio-economic (as well as other environmental) aspects should also be analyzed in order to assess the sustainability of such systems in a broader perspective.