(634e) Life Cycle Analysis of Charcoal Production from Biomass
AIChE Annual Meeting
Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 5:10pm to 5:35pm
Charcoal has been traditionally produced from wood and used as a primary biomass fuel for cooking and heating in most of the developing countries. Production of charcoal from traditional methods is inefficient and demands critical amount of energy and generates pollution and land degradation problems. Despite its inefficient production, charcoal has been recognized for its high heating value and rich source of carbon for industrial applications. In addition, charcoal has been applied to soil for carbon sequestration and acts as a growth promoter for certain crops. Charcoal has also been studied as a potential candidate for gasification process to produce high C/H ratio syngas for biofuel production and used as an absorbent to remove toxic volatile organic compounds. Recently, significant progress has been made to improve the efficiency of charcoal production with the maximum solid yield of up to 60%. In order to develop sustainable production of charcoal from biomass with minimal environmental impacts, a life cycle analysis (LCA) tool was used to quantify energy use and environmental emissions from various production methods and were compared. A commercially available life cycle analysis software tool, ?SimaPro? was used to conduct energy use and environmental emissions from producing charcoal using traditional kiln method and the modern low temperature pyrolysis method. A mass based resources and emissions allocation method was used, if charcoal is produced as a co-product or a by-product from a production method. The potential impact categories considered in this analysis are energy use, climate change, smog formation, acid rain formation and human health impacts. Development of a sustainable charcoal production method can help reduce energy use, environmental emissions, land degradation and worldwide deforestation, while producing high quality charcoal for various industrial applications.
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