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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2010, Article ID 740962, 12 pages
Review Article

Energy and Environmental Performance of Bioethanol from Different Lignocelluloses

Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, P.O. Box 9518, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 9 November 2009; Accepted 6 March 2010

Academic Editor: Ravichandra Potumarthi

Copyright © 2010 Lin Luo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Climate change and the wish to reduce the dependence on oil are the incentives for the development of alternative energy sources. The use of lignocellulosic biomass together with cellulosic processing technology provides opportunities to produce fuel ethanol with less competition with food and nature. Many studies on energy analysis and life cycle assessment of second-generation bioethanol have been conducted. However, due to the different methodology used and different system boundary definition, it is difficult to compare their results. To permit a direct comparison of fuel ethanol from different lignocelluloses in terms of energy use and environmental impact, seven studies conducted in our group were summarized in this paper, where the same technologies were used to convert biomass to ethanol, the same system boundaries were defined, and the same allocation procedures were followed. A complete set of environmental impacts ranging from global warming potential to toxicity aspects is used. The results provide an overview on the energy efficiency and environmental performance of using fuel ethanol derived from different feedstocks in comparison with gasoline.