Perspectives for the production of bioethanol from wood and straw in Austria: technical, economic, and ecological aspects

Kravanja, Philipp; Könighofer, Kurt; Canella, Lorenza; Jungmeier, Gerfried; Friedl, Anton
June 2012
Clean Technologies & Environmental Policy;Jun2012, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p411
Academic Journal
Bioethanol produced from lignocellulosic resources is a promising candidate for the replacement of fossil fuels. In this study, we aim to determine the perspectives to produce lignocellulosic ethanol in Austria. Technical, environmental and economic aspects are being considered. Thirteen biotechnological production concepts using the raw materials straw and softwood were established and simulated with the steady state flowsheeting software IPSEpro. Bioethanol production cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for each system were calculated based on mass and energy balances obtained from process simulation. The emission of GHGs along the entire bioethanol process chain ('from well to wheel') are compared to two reference systems producing the same amounts of by-products. In all concepts, process heat and considerable amounts of the by-products electricity, heat, pellets, C5 molasses, or biomethane could be obtained from residual biomass. Compared to a reference system driven by fossil energy, GHG emissions can be reduced by up to 76%. The production cost of ethanol was found to between 0.66 € and 0.94 € per liter of gasoline equivalent. The type and amount of by-product influence technical, economic, and environmental performance significantly. Converting all straw and softwood available in Austria to ethanol would result in an annual production of 340 kt.


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