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Assessment of economic and environmental aspects of the integrated production of ethanol and biodiesel

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Simone Pereira Souza
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Campinas, SP.
Institution: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Faculdade de Engenharia Mecânica
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Joaquim Eugênio Abel Seabra; Luiz Augusto Horta Nogueira; Marilia Ieda da Silveira Folegatti Matsuura; Arnaldo César da Silva Walter; Arnaldo César da Silva Walter
Advisor: Joaquim Eugênio Abel Seabra

The high diesel consumption to crop and transport sugarcane is one of the main sources of GHG and represents the largest share of fossil energy use in ethanol life-cycle. In 2013, the sugarcane sector in Brazil was responsible for around 4% of the national diesel consumption. Given this scenario, alternatives to the fossil fuel use are essential. Among them is the integration of biodiesel production with bioethanol plant. The main technical benefits of such joint production are the division of costs, the optimized use of the facilities and machineries and the local availability of energy and raw materials. But the sustainability of these systems will depend on the environmental and economic aspects (besides social) involved. Thus, this study aimed to assess the energy balance, the ability to mitigate GHG emissions and the economic performance of integrating the sugarcane sector into the soybean (short-term) and into the algae (long-term) biodiesel sectors. It was also assessed, through a meta-analysis, the medium-term option of integrating the sugarcane sector with a palm biodiesel plant. The main assumption is to replace 100% of the diesel consumed in the agricultural and transport stages of the sugarcane. Life Cycle Assessment technique was used to evaluate the environmental aspects. The economic performance was assessed through net present value applied to incremental cash flow. A perception analysis, which involved interviews with different stakeholders, made significant contributions in identifying threats and opportunities of the proposed systems. The results indicated that displacing fossil diesel with biodiesel may improve the ethanol life-cycle, with better environmental benefits to the cane-algae and cane-palm integrations, especially on reducing fossil energy. However, the cane-soybean system is technically possible in short term and, moreover, demonstrated economic feasibility. For algae biodiesel there are still many uncertainties and technological constraints, and the results indicate that it is economically unfeasible. In short to medium term, the palm seems to be the most promising choice to integrate with the sugarcane sector. Although the overall results have been positive, political strategies focused on production and local use of biodiesel by the sugarcane industry are essential to reduce the environmental burdens of ethanol production, with additional contributions to the logistics and idleness of the biodiesel sector (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/06917-8 - Assessment of environmental and economic aspects of the integrated production of bioenergy and food
Grantee:Simone Pereira de Souza
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate