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Environmental impact assessment of thermochemical routes for integral use of sugarcane biomass

Grant number: 12/23533-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2013
Effective date (End): July 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal researcher:Rubens Maciel Filho
Grantee:Ricardo Justino da Silva
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The replacement fossil fuels by biofuels has been considered an extremely important alternative in the transition to an economy based on a higher proportion of local renewable resources. In Brazil, the sugarcane occupies leading position in this scenario. The sugarcane biomass can be converted into various forms of bioenergy and materials through biochemical and thermochemical routes. Both routes aren't yet consolidated and currently doesn't have commercial production units. However significant efforts in research, development and demonstration have been made in various parts of the world. In this sense, this project proposes to contribute to this scientific and technological demand evaluating the environmental impacts of different alternatives/routes for converting biomass into ethanol, methanol and diesel/gasoline in a sugarcane biorefinery with integral use of available lignocellulosic biomass. This environmental impact assessment methodology is based on use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and in their integration with a computational simulation platform. Thus, this project will contribute to the construction of a tool called Sugarcane Virtual Biorefinery. The thermochemical route evaluated is the biomass gasification with subsequent use of syngas to generate thermal energy and, electricity by cogeneration or integrated-gasifier to combined cycle (or other technologies), ethanol, methanol and gasoline and diesel by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. From this study it will be possible to compare the environmental impacts of thermochemical and biochemical routes (generated in the broader project in which this Master project is part of) as well as technical improvements to reduce environmental impacts in the thermochemical routes evaluated in this work. (AU)

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