Abstract

Lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks are considered as one of the major alternative for fossil and food based transport fuel and chemicals for the reasons such as fuel/food security, depleting fossil reserves, climate change, mitigate pollution in agriculture and rural socio-economic development. In highly populated and agriculture based countries such as India, the conventional lignocellulosic feedstock such as rice straw and wheat straw are a major source for animal feed and hence non-conventional feedstock that could be cultivated in waste land has to be explored to fulfill the lignocellulosic feedstock supply in the coming years. In this context, this study deals with life cycle assessment of vetiver, a non-conventional lignocellulosic feedstock for bioethanol and biochemical production in India. A prospective LCA was performed to compare the environmental impacts of vetiver based biorefinery system with conventional system. The results reveal that the carbon dioxide and fossil oil consumption could be reduced by 145% and 77% respectively in case of bioethanol production, and 30% and 12% respectively in case of bioethanol and furfural production compared to its reference system. The sensitive analysis indicates that using vetiver biomass a source of energy in biorefinery plant further reduces the carbon dioxide emission and fossil oil consumption significantly by 100% and 60% compared to the coal used for process energy requirement in vetiver biorefinery.

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