Environmental life cycle assessment of glycerine production: Energy transition from natural gas to biomass

Ali Ghannadzadeh*, Amir Hossein Tarighaleslami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper presents the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a glycerine production process as one of the most energy-intensive chemical processes. The utilisation of biomass as a solution to replace the current fossil fuels in the process is proposed. To do so, different energy mix scenarios are defined to moderate the impacts of glycerine production and utility generation during the energy transition period. In this research, the implementation of LCA in conjunction with Cumulative Exergy Demand to evaluate the sustainability of the developed energy mix is proposed. This LCA study confirms without retrofitting the core of the glycerine process technology, it is possible to reduce the environmental impacts through the step-wise introduction of biomass into the energy mix, resulting in four different scenarios. This study also confirms that, according to the discernibility analysis through Monte Carlo simulations, LCA results are responsive and sensitive to the portion of biomass in each energy mix scenario. Moreover, this study shows that the overall anthropogenic environmental impacts of the glycerine production process are reduced (41% according to Cumulative Exergy Demand) through natural gas to biomass energy transition. However, the biomass-based scenarios are less sustainable than the natural gas scenarios regarding photochemical oxidant formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100775
Number of pages8
JournalSustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Biomass
  • Energy transition
  • Exergy
  • Glycerine
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • OIL

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