Forthcoming articles

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues (IJGEnvI)

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International Journal of Global Environmental Issues (1 paper in press)

Regular Issues

  • Environmental impacts of industrial ethanol production in Brazil: A life cycle analysis assessment with research data inventory   Order a copy of this article
    by Flavio Numata Junior, Cassia M. L. Ugaya 
    Abstract: Biofuels are a rich source of energy for the world. First-generation (1G) ethanol has been used for decades, and the potential of second-generation (2G) lignocellulosic ethanol has already been recognized. Now, the productivity of third-generation (3G) ethanol derived from algae is predicted to be ten times higher than current levels. Consequently, industrial technological development is moving at a rapid pace to meet the demands of clean fuel production whose environmental effects are still largely unknown. To help fill this gap, this study aims to measure how future generations of ethanol will impact industrial processes in Brazil up to the year 2050. It analyzes the industrialization of 1G, 2G, and 3G ethanol and uses the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) technique as a method to measure environmental impact. The data inventory draws from fundamental bioethanol studies that have long considered the anticipated variables involved in industrial manufacturing technology. The results of this study show that the industrialization of ethanol generates acidification, primarily when fermentation produces sulfuric acid in the integrated system of 1G and 2G. Even greater discharges are observed in 3G during an esterification process generated by the glycerin. A general assessment of the landscape indicates that processes adopting thermochemical technological routes have more positive contribution. In fact, employing biochemical processes could minimize environmental effects by producing fewer emissions and pollutant residues.
    Keywords: environmental impacts; Life-cycle assessment; industrial processes; ethanol.