(421n) Life Cycle Assessment of Pyrolysis-Based Biofuels From Diverse Biomass Feedstocks | AIChE

(421n) Life Cycle Assessment of Pyrolysis-Based Biofuels From Diverse Biomass Feedstocks


Mihalek, M. - Presenter, Michigan Technological University
Bhardwaj, G. - Presenter, Michigan Technological University
Shonnard, D. - Presenter, Michigan Technological University

Life Cycle Assessment of Pyrolysis-Based Biofuels from Diverse Biomass Feedstocks

Matt Mihalek1, Jiqing Fan1, Gaurav Bhardwaj1, Kyle Andrews1, Robert Handler2, Tom Kalnes3, David Shonnard1,2

1 Department of Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

2 Sustainable Futures Institute, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

3 UOP LLC (Honeywell), Des Plaines, IL



Renewable hydrocarbon biofuels produced by upgrading of pyrolysis bio-oil are being investigated as a possible alternative to conventional fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel. Feedstocks such as corn stover, sugarcane bagasse, switchgrass, guinea grass, waste wood, and algae are being investigated using data from biomass producers located throughout the United States. This research is developing life cycle assessments (LCA) for each feedstock and will compare the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption to conventional fossil fuels. This analysis will take into account all the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each feedstock from cultivation through the entire life cycle of the fuel product. Currently this analysis has intermediate result for each feedstock, but the full life cycle results will be reported in this poster. The results reported here look at a life cycle starting at land preparation and cultivation up to transportation to the pyrolysis plant.  The GHG emissions range from a low of 30 to high of 430 kg of CO2 equivalents per dry metric ton of feedstock.  The large range in GHG emission intensity for feedstock procurement is due to differences in required fertilizer inputs, areal biomass productivity, and manner of harvesting. This analysis is currently looking at emissions from land use change and the pyrolysis/upgrading processes. This research will help determine which feedstocks provide the most environmental benefit when it comes to producing hydrocarbon pyrolysis-based biofuels.