Environmental economics of lignin derived transport fuels
Journal article, 2017

This paper explores the environmental and economic aspects of fast pyrolytic conversion of lignin, obtained from 2G ethanol plants, to transport fuels for both the marine and automotive markets. Various scenarios are explored, pertaining to aggregation of lignin from several sites, alternative energy carries to replace lignin, transport modalities, and allocation methodology. The results highlight two critical factors that ultimately determine the economic and/or environmental fuel viability. The first factor, the logistics scheme, exhibited the disadvantage of the centralized approach, owing to prohibitively expensive transportation costs of the low energy-dense lignin. Life cycle analysis (LCA) displayed the second critical factor related to alternative energy carrier selection. Natural gas (NG) chosen over additional biomass boosts well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions (WTW GHG) to a level incompatible with the reduction targets set by the U.S. renewable fuel standard (RFS). Adversely, the process’ economics revealed higher profits vs. fossil energy carrier.


Life cycle assessment


2G ethanol plants


Svetlana V. Obydenkova

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Panos D. Kouris

Eindhoven University of Technology

Emiel J.M. Hensen

Eindhoven University of Technology

Hero J. Heeres

University of Groningen

Michael D. Boot

Eindhoven University of Technology

Bioresource Technology

0960-8524 (ISSN)

Vol. 243 589-599

Subject Categories

Renewable Bioenergy Research

Other Environmental Engineering

Energy Systems



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