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Prioritization of Bioethanol Production Systems from Agricultural and Waste Agricultural Biomass Using Multi-criteria Decision Making

  • Sahar SafarianEmail author
  • Sorena Sattari
  • Runar Unnthorsson
  • Zeinab Hamidzadeh
Original Paper
  • 10 Downloads

Abstract

In this paper, the problem of sustainability assessment of various types of bioethanol plants is addressed. This represents the first evaluation of 30 bioethanol systems fed by agricultural and waste agricultural biomass in Iran, using multi-criteria decision analysis relying on seven sustainability criteria (total cost, benefit, fossil energy ratio, energy use efficiency, greenhouse gas [GHG] emission, land use, and production yield) and five representative decision-maker preference scenarios. The results show that most agricultural systems are not feasible in terms of economics, energy, and the environment. However, agricultural wastes are attractive feedstocks for bioethanol production, since they are cost-effective, renewable, and abundant. The results across several preference scenarios for waste crops indicate that producing bioethanol from sugarcane currently scores highest in sustainability for Iran. Barley and strawberry have the lowest ranks in most scenarios due to their high GHG emissions and low production yield. In addition to sugarcane, potato and sugar beet are the most beneficial from the energy and environmental perspectives. Pear and apple also have high-middle status among the considered scenarios for Iran. These results suggest that design policies promoting the use of agricultural wastes for energy production may appeal to decision makers with a diverse range of economic, environmental, and energy preferences. Finally, this type of research can provide arguments to support decisions tending toward a more structured and strategic approach in implementing sustainable energy policies.

Keywords

Sustainability assessment Multi-criteria decision analysis Bioethanol supply Agricultural biomasses Agricultural wastes 

List of Symbols

A

Biomass production level

BPC

Benefit per cost

C

Bioethanol production level

Cfix

Fixed cost ($)

Ctotal

Total production cost ($)

Cvar

Variable cost ($)

D

Diesel

Dbe

Bioethanol demand (kg)

E

Sugar production level

EUE

Energy use efficiency

FER

Fossil energy ratio

FFA

Free fatty acid

GHG

Total greenhouse gas emission (kg CO2eq)

HC

Harvesting coefficient

I

Different inputs

L

Levels in bioethanol production chain

La

Land use (ha)

NG

Natural gas

Pr

Price

T

Transport level

X

Material flow

b

Different kinds of biomasses

bd

Bioethanol

bp

Different kinds of by-products

cb

Specific chemical biocide consumption (kg/ha)

ec

Energy coefficient

ef

GHG emission factor

i

Counter

s

Sugar content liquid

x

Weight percent

yb

Yield of biomass kind of b (ton/ha)

\(\eta\)

Technological efficiency

\(\alpha\)

Ratio of by-product to the main product

\(\tau\)

Technology

\(\iota\)

Loss percent

\(\varepsilon\)

Availability percent of waste crops

\(\omega\)

Waste percent of different crops

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sahar Safarian
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sorena Sattari
    • 3
  • Runar Unnthorsson
    • 1
  • Zeinab Hamidzadeh
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer ScienceUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.Scientific and Technological Department of Presidential OfficeTehranIran
  3. 3.Energy Engineering DepartmentSharif University of TechnologyTehranIran

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