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Energies 2013, 6(4), 2065-2083; doi:10.3390/en6042065
Article

Estimating Energy- and Eco-Balances for Continuous Bio-Ethanol Production Using a Blenke Cascade System

1,2,* , 1
,
2
 and
2
1 Department of Fermentation Technology, Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Hohenheim Universität, Garbenstrasse 23, Stuttgart 70599, Germany 2 Department of Food Process Engineering, Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Hohenheim Universität, Garbenstrasse 25, Stuttgart 70599, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 January 2013 / Revised: 29 March 2013 / Accepted: 29 March 2013 / Published: 11 April 2013
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Abstract

Energy and environmental effects of wheat-based fuel, produced continuously by a Blenke cascade system, were assessed. Two scenarios: (1) no-co-products utilization scenario; and (2) co-products utilization scenario, were compared. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) model was used for analysis. The scope covered a cradle-to-gate inventory. The results from energy analysis showed, that wheat-based ethanol has a positive average net energy value (NEV), NEV = 3.35 MJ/kg ethanol with an average net energy ratio (NER), NER = 1.14 MJ/MJ fossils for scenario 1, while for scenario 2, NEV = 20 MJ/kg ethanol with NER = 3.94 MJ/MJ fossils. The environmental performance analysis indicated that in scenario 1, the strongest contribution to environmental impacts was from the ethanol conversion stage; whereas in scenario 2, it was from wheat production stage. The use of a continuous fermentation system based on Blenke cascade is a promising technology that increases wheat based bio-ethanol’s energy benefits. In addition, the calculated parameters show the potential to significantly reduce emissions level.
Keywords: bio-ethanol; Blenke cascade system; life-cycle assessment; wheat; scenarios bio-ethanol; Blenke cascade system; life-cycle assessment; wheat; scenarios
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Ntihuga, J.N.; Senn, T.; Gschwind, P.; Kohlus, R. Estimating Energy- and Eco-Balances for Continuous Bio-Ethanol Production Using a Blenke Cascade System. Energies 2013, 6, 2065-2083.

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