Lignocellulosic multi-product biorefinery: Evaluation of economic and environmental hotspots and value creation

Svetlana V. Obydenkova*, Panos D. Kouris, David M.J. Smeulders, Michael D. Boot, Yvonne Van Der Meer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article in journalAcademicpeer-review

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The slow progress in the commercialization of lignocellulosic biorefineries involving the biochemical conversion pathway points at the immaturity of existing biorefinery concepts. The current research suggests a systematic analysis of value creation chains and their economic and environmental hotspots within a multi-product biorefinery, having as the primary goal to promote sustainable biorefining processes. A lignocellulosic biorefinery producing ethanol, crude lignin oil and electricity was analyzed. Our methodology involves the transformation of a technological biorefinery model into the input-output one and the use of matrix notation to track the accumulation of economic and environmental attributes along biorefinery value chains. Three categories of indicators are chosen to reveal the most critical processing stages of every value chain, namely: (i) monetary and environmental profiles, (ii) the role of feedstock and (iii) infrastructure required to support main processes. Principal biorefinery hotspots refer to the biomass pretreatment, solids recovery and lignin drying stages, which is due mainly to wastewater treatment accompanying these processes. The other hotspot, lignin solvolysis technology, shows the environmental advantage of decreasing methanol content in the produced lignin oil. The proposed method is worth being applied to the analysis of new biorefinery concepts and new integration pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-732
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event29th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, EUBCE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 26 Apr 202129 Apr 2021


  • Hotspots
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Multi-product biorefinery
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Value chain analysis


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