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Towards an energy efficient chemistry. Switching from fossil to bio-based products in a life cycle perspective

TitleTowards an energy efficient chemistry. Switching from fossil to bio-based products in a life cycle perspective
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsFiorentino, Gabriella, Zucaro Amalia, and Ulgiati S.
KeywordsAdvanced technology, Bio-based products, Bioethanol, biofuel, carbon emission, Chemical industry, cogeneration, efficiency measurement, Emission control, energy conservation, energy efficiency, environmental management, Environmental performance, Environmental sustainability, Ethanol, fossil fuel, Greenhouse gases, Greenhouse gases (GHG), industrial emission, life cycle, life cycle analysis, Life cycle perspectives, Material efficiency, Process intensification, Recycling, Sustainable development

The reduction of energy demand and greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions is a main target of the chemical industry. By implementing Best Practice Technologies (BPTs) (i.e. the most advanced technologies currently in use at industrial scale) as well as by implementing recycling and energy recovery strategies through cogeneration and process intensification, consistent energy savings and CO 2 emissions reduction can be achieved in the short to medium term. Long-term additional cuts may arise from development and deployment of “game changer” technologies, that re-invent the way some large-volume chemicals are made. Although still far from commercial maturity and still facing high economic and technical hurdles, switching to the use of non-food biomass as fuel and feedstock in the chemical industry may represent a suitable option. During the transition towards a more energy efficient chemistry, the environmental performance of bio-based products need to be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In this study, an overview of energy improvement options is provided and the different patterns of bioethanol as fuel to generate energy or as platform chemical to generate chemical derivatives are compared as a case study within a life cycle perspective. The consequences on the environmental sustainability of the chemical industry are envisaged. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd


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Citation KeyFiorentino2019720