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This book presents a concise framework for assessing technical and sustainability impacts of existing biorefineries and provides a possible road map for development of novel biorefineries. It offers a detailed, integrated approach to evaluate the entire biomass production chain, from the agricultural feedstock production and transportation, to the industrial conversion and commercialization & use of products. The Brazilian sugarcane biorefinery is used as a case study; however, the methods and concepts can be applied to almost any biomass alternative. Chapters explore the main issues regarding biorefinery assessment, including feedstock production and transportation modeling, biofuels and green chemistry products, as well as assessment of sustainability impacts. This book is a valuable source of information to researchers in bioenergy, green chemistry and sustainability fields. It also provides a useful framework for government agencies, investors and the energy industry to evaluate and predict the success of current and future biorefinery alternatives.



Chapter 1. Background

This chapter describes the background and motivations for the assessment strategies presented in this book. It is also mentioned how computational simulation tools can help to answer important questions regarding increasing the understanding of interconnections between the bioenergy supply chain, the economy, and the environment in order to facilitate comparisons between energy technologies and identify opportunities for improved sustainability.
Marco A. P. Lima, Antonio Bonomi, Otávio Cavalett, Marcelo Pereira da Cunha

Chapter 2. The Virtual Sugarcane Biorefinery Concept

The Virtual Sugarcane Biorefinery (VSB) is a simulation platform that makes it possible to evaluate the integration of sugarcane production chain in a biorefinery concept—cellulosic ethanol and other products from the green chemistry, new agricultural strategies for sugarcane and other feedstock production, as well as logistics and use of ethanol and other products used as biofuels and biochemicals. This simulation platform will help compare different strategies and routes, in addition to identify the processes and parameters showing major economic, social, and environmental impacts, in order to help in the prioritization of the scientific and technological research, and help in the formulation of public policies.
Antonio Bonomi, Otávio Cavalett, Marcelo Pereira da Cunha, Marco A. P. Lima

Chapter 3. The Agricultural Production Model

Numerous crops have been used to produce bioenergy around the world. Among the alternatives of biomass intended for renewable energy purposes, sugarcane is highlighted as a great alternative, and the knowledge of all the steps of the agricultural phase of its production chain is imperative in order to improve the sustainability of bioethanol production in Brazil. This chapter presents an agricultural model, called CanaSoft, which is intended for simulation and assessment of the most important agricultural parameters of biomass production system alternatives, as well as for integrated sustainability optimization. The complete description of the parameters considered in the model for sugarcane production is provided, as well as a description of its adaptation to other biomass.
Otávio Cavalett, Mateus F. Chagas, Paulo S.G. Magalhães, João L.N. Carvalho, Terezinha F. Cardoso, Henrique C.J. Franco, Oscar A. Braunbeck, Antonio Bonomi

Chapter 4. Biorefinery Alternatives

This chapter presents a brief review of biorefinery definitions and concepts. The state of the art of biochemical and thermochemical routes to produce biofuels and bio-based chemicals is discussed, showing the current level of the available technologies. The major pieces of equipment commonly used in the first- and second-generation project designs are also covered. A historical background on the development of process simulation environments is presented in order to give some insights into process modeling and simulation. First- and second-generation biorefinery simulations are shown at the end of the chapter.
Edvaldo R. Morais, Tassia L. Junqueira, Isabelle L. M. Sampaio, Marina O. S. Dias, Mylene C. A. F. Rezende, Charles D. F. de Jesus, Bruno C. Klein, Edgardo O. Gómez, Paulo E. Mantelatto, R Maciel Filho, Antonio Bonomi

Chapter 5. Biorefinery Products Logistics, Commercialization, and Use

This chapter presents a model intended for simulation and measurement of the most important parameters of distribution logistics—transportation and commercialization—and use of biorefinery products, with focus on ethanol. In the context of the VSB, different modes of transport are intended to be included in the construction of the model to account for economic, environmental, and social impacts of products transportation between their production centers to final consumers. Different options for transport services are included in a model for logistic evaluation, taking into consideration several criteria such as geographical operation, transported goods, and vehicle size.
Mateus F. Chagas, Otávio Cavalett, Lucas Gonçalves Pereira, Antonio Bonomi

Chapter 6. Sustainability Assessment Methodologies

This chapter presents some of the most useful techniques applied in the VSB to support both the sustainability assessment and decision making regarding many products and process based on biomass, especially those using sugarcane as feedstock.
Marcos D. B. Watanabe, Lucas G. Pereira, Mateus F. Chagas, Marcelo Pereira da Cunha, Charles D. F. Jesus, Alexandre Souza, Elmer C. Rivera, R. Maciel Filho, Otávio Cavalett, Antonio Bonomi

Chapter 7. Use of the VSB to Assess Biorefinery Strategies

The VSB has been used to assess several configurations of sugarcane biorefineries, including first- and second-generation facilities with alternative features, such as harvesting extension with other crops and integrated production of sugar, ethanol, electricity, and chemicals like n-butanol, as well as thermochemical routes. In this chapter, in-depth examples of selected routes are provided in order to illustrate the different methods that can be applied for the sustainability impact assessment, as well as some results obtained with the VSB
Marina O. S. Dias, Tassia L. Junqueira, Isabelle L. M. Sampaio, Mateus F. Chagas, Marcos D. B. Watanabe, Edvaldo R. Morais, Vera L. R. Gouveia, Bruno C. Klein, Mylene C. A. F. Rezende, Terezinha F. Cardoso, Alexandre Souza, Charles D. F. Jesus, Lucas G. Pereira, Elmer C. Rivera, R Maciel Filho, Antonio Bonomi

Chapter 8. Use of VSB to Plan Research Programs and Public Policies

The VSB comprises a useful framework for assessing research programs, and define and evaluate the effects of public policies. This chapter describes two cases regarding the use of VSB for R&D evaluation—enzyme development and use of energy cane as a new feedstock for sugarcane biorefinery—and a public policy formulation for biogas production and use in the biorefinery context.
Tassia L. Junqueira, Bruna Moraes, Vera L. R. Gouveia, Mateus F. Chagas, Edvaldo R. Morais, Marcos D.B. Watanabe, Marcelo Zaiat, Antonio Bonomi

Chapter 9. Final Remarks

This chapter presents the future developments and use of the VSB. It identifies the methodology required constructions to be done in the next years, as well as future improvements, intended dissemination forms, and new potential applications.
Antonio Bonomi, Otávio Cavalett, Marcelo Pereira da Cunha, Marco A. P. Lima
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