A Life Cycle Assessment and Techno-economic Analysis of a Corn Ethanol Bio-Refinery in Comparison to a Novel Bio-refinery
A life cycle assessment and economic analysis of a dry-mill corn-ethanol facility was completed and compared to a novel bio-refinery. The novel facility is able to avoid additional energy intensive treatment through anaerobic digestion. The effluent from the digester is then aerobically treated before being utilized for the cultivation of Chlorella sorokiniana, which will be used to supplement the corn required for the biorefinery. The biorefinery was proposed in order to reduce the corn input, energy consumption and GHG emissions associated with ethanol production. An economic analysis was also completed to determine the changes to capital and operational costs for the novel biorefinery. The results show a reduction in energy use and increased co-product production led to decreases in most environmental impact categories for the novel biorefinery. The economic analysis indicated that the overall revenue decreased in the novel biorefinery when capital, operating and material costs were taken into consideration.