Chemical Engineering Transactions (Dec 2021)

Life-Cycle Environmental and Cost Analysis of Palm Biomass-based Bio-Ethanol Production in Malaysia

  • Zhi Ying Lee,
  • Peng Yen Liew,
  • Kok Sin Woon,
  • Lian See Tan,
  • Pramila Tamunaidu,
  • Jirí Jaromír Klemeš

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 89


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The palm oil industry generates a high amount of residues during their processing. Empty fruit bunches (EFB) is one of the biomass which can be utilised for bioethanol production. In this study, life cycle assessment (LCA) with the cradle-to-gate approach is performed with the help of SimaPro version 9.0, whereby four impact categories are evaluated. The economic performance of the production is analysed through life cycle costing (LCC). The scope is from palm tree cultivation to refined bioethanol production. In LCC, specific cost data such as raw material costs, labour and capital expenditure, operational costs, and transport costs will be considered. The LCC is 562.44 MYR/t of bioethanol with an annual profit of 5.50 × 108 MYR/y and a payback period of 0.51 y. From an environmental view, the significant contributors to the environmental impacts are agriculture and the pretreatment process. From an economic perspective, the chemical cost is the most burden cost in the upstream process. In contrast, the cost of the raw materials is the main contributor to the bioethanol production cost. The environmental impacts and cost burden can be reduced by cutting down the usage of chemicals.