Assessing new biotechnologies by combining TEA and TM-LCA for an efficient use of biomass resources

Giovanna Croxatto Vega*, Juliën Voogt, Joshua Sohn, Morten Birkved, Stig Irving Olsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

An efficient use of biomass resources is a key element of the bioeconomy. Ideally, options leading to the highest environmental and economic gains can be singled out for any given region. In this study, to achieve this goal of singling out an ideal technology for a given region, biotechnologies are assessed by a combination of techno-economic assessment (TEA) and territorial metabolism life cycle assessment (TM-LCA). Three technology variations for anaerobic digestion (AD) were assessed at two different scales (200 kW and 1 MW) and for two different regions. First, sustainable feedstock availability for two European regions was quantified. Then, the environmental impact and economic potential of each technology when scaled up to the regional level, considering all of the region's unique sustainably available feedstock, was investigated. Multiple criteria decision analysis and internalized damage monetization were used to generate single scores for the assessments. Preference for the technology scenario producing the most energy was shown for all regions and scales, while producing bioplastic was less preferable since the value of the produced bioplastic plastic was not great enough to offset the resultant reduction in energy production. Assessing alternatives in a regional context provided valuable information about the influence of different types of feedstock on environmental performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3676
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2020

Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Biogas
  • Biomass valorization
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • Regional assessment
  • Techno-economic assessment
  • Territorial metabolism
  • Wet oxidation

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