Estimating Chemical Releases and Evaluating Indicators for Manufacturing Processes: Biorefinery Case Studies | AIChE

Estimating Chemical Releases and Evaluating Indicators for Manufacturing Processes: Biorefinery Case Studies


Conference Presentation

Conference Type

AIChE Annual Meeting

Presentation Date

November 17, 2020


52 minutes

Skill Level




During manufacturing and use of chemical substances, the estimation of releases is critical for environmental and human health impact evaluations. Human health impacts, acidification, smog, and many other environmental impacts are directly related to chemical releases. For example, for human health risk assessments, the risk depends upon the amount of chemical released, the exposure people have, and the toxic effects of the chemical. Other environmental impacts are similarly determined through a combination of releases and impact characterizations. Thus, release estimation is a key step in evaluating the effects of manufacturing, processing, using, and disposing of chemicals. This contribution will describe recent efforts to estimate releases, evaluate indicators for manufacturing with case studies for biorefineries that produce cellulosic ethanol via biochemical and thermochemical routes, and provide tools available to aid in these evaluations [1]. In addition, this contribution offers a practical method that enables stakeholders to estimate releases from on-site utilities and common but often neglected unit operations. It also suggests how to guide process designs or improvements that incorporate knowledge from the indicators.

[1] Smith, R.L., Tan, E.C.D., and Ruiz-Mercado, G.J., “Applying Environmental Release Inventories and Indicators to the Evaluation of Chemical Manufacturing Processes in Early Stage Development,” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 7, 10937-10950 (2019); DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b01961

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


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