Life cycle energy efficiency and environmental impact assessment of bioethanol production from sweet potato based on different production modes
by Jun Zhang, Chunrong Jia, Yi Wu, Xunfeng Xia, Beidou Xi, Lijun Wang, Youlong ZhaiThe bioethanol is playing an increasingly important role in renewable energy in China. Based on the theory of circular economy, integration of different resources by polygeneration is one of the solutions to improve energy efficiency and to reduce environmental impact. In this study, three modes of bioethanol production were selected to evaluate the life cycle energy efficiency and environmental impact of sweet potato-based bioethanol. The results showed that, the net energy ratio was greater than 1 and the value of net energy gain was positive in the three production modes, in which the maximum value appeared in the circular economy mode (CEM). The environment emission mainly occurred to bioethanol conversion unit in the conventional production mode (CPM) and the cogeneration mode (CGM), and eutrophication potential (EP) and global warming potential (GWP) were the most significant environmental impact category. While compared with CPM and CGM, the environmental impact of CEM significantly declined due to increasing recycling, and plant cultivation unit mainly contributed to EP and GWP. And the comprehensive evaluation score of environmental impact decreased by 73.46% and 23.36%. This study showed that CEM was effective in improving energy efficiency, especially in reducing the environmental impact, and it provides a new method for bioethanol production.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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