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Title: The influence of catalysts on biofuel life cycle analysis (LCA)

Catalysts play an important role in biofuel production but are rarely included in biofuel life cycle analysis (LCA). In this work, we estimate the cradle-to-gate energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Pt/γ-Al 2O 3, CoMo/γ-Al 2O 3, and ZSM-5, catalysts that could be used in processes to convert biomass to biofuels. We also consider the potential impacts of catalyst recovery and recycling. Integrating the energy and environmental impacts of CoMo/γ-Al 2O 3 and ZSM-5 into an LCA of renewable gasoline produced via in-situ and ex-situ fast pyrolysis of a blended woody feedstock revealed that the ZSM-5, with cradle-to-gate GHG emissions of 7.7 kg CO 2e/kg, could influence net life-cycle GHG emissions of the renewable gasoline (1.7 gCO 2e/MJ for the in-situ process, 1.2 gCO 2e/MJ for the ex-situ process) by up to 14% depending on the loading rate. CoMo/γ-Al 2O 3 had a greater GHG intensity (9.6 kg CO 2e/kg) than ZSM-5, however, it contributed approximately only 1% to the life-cycle GHG emissions of the renewable gasoline because of the small amount of this catalyst needed per kg of biofuel produced. As a result, given that catalysts can contribute significantly to biofuel life-cycle GHG emissions depending on themore » GHG intensity of their production and their consumption rates, biofuel LCAs should consider the potential influence of catalysts on LCA results.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  2. Eco Engineers, Des Moines, IA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Sustainable Materials and Technologies
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2214-9937
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; biofuels; catalyst production; fast pyrolysis; life cycle analysis; spent catalyst treatment
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1397482