Sara Bello, Carmen Ríos, Gumersindo Feijoo and María Teresa Moreira
The exploitation of lignocellulosic materials with the aim of producing high value‐added products will potentially counteract concerns such as depletion of fossil resources or exponential population growth. The present study focuses on the assessment of an integrated process based on organosolv fractionation of residual beech woodchips, with the objective of implementing concepts such as circular economy or process integration. The life‐cycle assessment (LCA) methodology and the eco‐efficiency concept allow for a holistic analysis of sustainability in terms of the system’s environmental approach.
The results show that the pre‐treatment of biomass together with the energy demands of the process and enzyme production constitute the hotspots of the system. Analyzing the system by means of the ecoefficiency indicator demonstrates that broadening the multi‐production spectrum of a biorefinery provides better results when production volume and processing steps fit environmental and techno‐economical requirements.
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