Influence of high gravity process conditions on the environmental impact of ethanol production from wheat straw
Journal article, 2014

Biofuel production processes at high gravity are currently under development. Most of these processes however use sugars or first generation feedstocks as substrate. This paper presents the results of a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the production of bio-ethanol at high gravity conditions from a second generation feedstock, namely, wheat straw. The LCA used lab results of a set of 36 process configurations in which dry matter content, enzyme preparation and loading, and process strategy were varied. The LCA results show that higher dry matter content leads to a higher environmental impact of the ethanol production, but this can be compensated by reducing the impact of enzyme production and use, and by polyethylene glycol addition at high dry matter content. The results also show that the renewable and non-renewable energy use resulting from the different process configurations ultimately determine their environmental impact.

High gravity hydrolysis and fermentation

Life cycle assessment

Wheat straw

Energy analysis


Mathias Janssen

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

Anne-Marie Tillman

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

David Cannella

University of Copenhagen

Henning Jørgensen

University of Copenhagen

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Bioresource Technology

0960-8524 (ISSN)

Vol. 173 148-158

High gravity hydrolysis and fermentation of lignocellulosic material for production of bio-fuels (High Gravity Biofuels / HGBiofuels)

Nordic Energy Research (NER), 2010-09-01 -- 2015-06-30.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Environmental Engineering

Bioprocess Technology


Areas of Advance




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