‘Woods-to-Wake’ Life Cycle Assessment of Residual Woody Biomass Based Jet-Fuel

Presenters: Indroneil Ganguly, Assistant Professor, Research, University of Washington

Hosted by:
Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA)

The residual woody biomass (a.k.a. harvest slash) produced during forest harvest operations in the Pacific Northwest, is generally burned in the forest or left on the forest floor to decompose. Drop-in biofuel production from these residual cellulosic feedstock can provide an alternative to utilizing this unused resource and simultaneously displace fossil based fuels. Utilizing a ‘woods-to-wake’ (WTWa) Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, which is comparable to well-to-wake for its fossil based counterpart, this paper assesses the environmental implications of recovering these harvest residues to produce woody biomass based bio-jet fuel.

The woody biomass to bioconversion process presented in this paper uses a milder version of bisulfite pre-treatment of the feedstock liberating the C6 sugars which then go through enzymatic hydrolysis, saccharification and fermentation producing isobutanol (iBuOH). The isobutanol is then converted to bio-jet fuel (iso-paraffinic kerosene, IPK) using a proprietary biocatalytic fermentation and oligomerization processes. The woods-to-wake environmental impacts of woody biomass jet-fuel are then compared to WTWa impacts of fossil based jet-fuel. The results indicate that the woods-to-wake global warming impact of wood based bio-jet fuel represents a 60% or greater reduction as compared to WTWa of traditional jet fuel.

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