Environmental assessment of the production and addition of bioethanol produced from Eucalyptus globulus to gasoline in Chile

Marjorie Morales, Julián Quintero, GERMAN EDUARDO AROCA ARCAYA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Bioethanol is not currently produced in Chile. However, mixtures of bioethanol-gasoline at 2 and 5 % have been authorized. The production and use of the bioethanol-gasoline blend “E5” has been assessed using life cycle assessment (LCA) with the aim to compare the environmental profiles of bioethanol produced from Eucalyptus globulus with gasoline in Chile and to determine the potential of this biofuel-replacing gasoline in the transport sector. Methods: The standard framework of LCA described by ISO was selected to assess the ecological burdens derived from the biofuel production using the SimaPro v7.8 software. The system boundaries included eucalyptus cultivation, bioethanol production, E5 blend production, and final use of E5. The inventory data for Eucalyptus cultivation were previously collected through surveys with forest managers. Inventory data for bioethanol production were obtained by process simulation models using Aspen Plus v7.1, and for non-simulated or modeled information, secondary information (scientific articles and reports) was used. Conventional gasoline, produced and used in Chile, was used as base scenario for comparison with E5 scenario. Results and discussion: The environmental results showed reduction of the environmental impacts in most of the assessed categories when E5 blend is assessed and compared with gasoline. Reduction was evident for climate change, photochemical oxidation formation, terrestrial acidification, marine eutrophication, terrestrial ecotoxicity, marine ecotoxicity, depletion of water, and fossil resources. However, there was an increase in other impact categories, such as ozone layer depletion, human toxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, and marine eutrophication. The hotspots for E5 blend were the blending production and the combustion in the engine, whereas in the production process, the electricity production was the major contributor to most of the impact categories. When increasing the bioethanol content from E5 to E10 blend, the environmental impact increases in most of the evaluated categories except in the CC, WD, and FD categories. However, compared with other studies related to wood-based E10, the values for the environmental impacts obtained were lower than the reported. Conclusions: The use of E5 blend can help to reduce the environmental impact in 8 of the 12 categories analyzed. Environmental impacts obtained are lower compared with other studies reported for E10 blend production from wood resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-536
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Biofuels
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Lignocellulosic
  • Second generation
  • Short-rotation woody crops
  • Well-to-wheel analysis

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