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Processes 2015, 3(3), 634-663; doi:10.3390/pr3030634

Design of Sustainable Biofuel Processes and Supply Chains: Challenges and Opportunities

1
Swanson School of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15621, USA
2
Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29631, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bhavik Bakshi
Received: 30 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Products and Processes)
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Abstract

The current methodological approach for developing sustainable biofuel processes and supply chains is flawed. Life cycle principles are often retrospectively incorporated in the design phase resulting in incremental environmental improvement rather than selection of fuel pathways that minimize environmental impacts across the life cycle. Further, designing sustainable biofuel supply chains requires joint consideration of economic, environmental, and social factors that span multiple spatial and temporal scales. However, traditional life cycle assessment (LCA) ignores economic aspects and the role of ecological goods and services in supply chains, and hence is limited in its ability for guiding decision-making among alternatives—often resulting in sub-optimal solutions. Simultaneously incorporating economic and environment objectives in the design and optimization of emerging biofuel supply chains requires a radical new paradigm. This work discusses key research opportunities and challenges in the design of emerging biofuel supply chains and provides a high-level overview of the current “state of the art” in environmental sustainability assessment of biofuel production. Additionally, a bibliometric analysis of over 20,000 biofuel research articles from 2000-to-present is performed to identify active topical areas of research in the biofuel literature, quantify the relative strength of connections between various biofuels research domains, and determine any potential research gaps. View Full-Text
Keywords: biofuels; sustainability; sustainable biofuel supply chain; next generation biofuels; bibliometric analysis; multiobjective optimization; multiscale modeling; life cycle assessment biofuels; sustainability; sustainable biofuel supply chain; next generation biofuels; bibliometric analysis; multiobjective optimization; multiscale modeling; life cycle assessment
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zaimes, G.G.; Vora, N.; Chopra, S.S.; Landis, A.E.; Khanna, V. Design of Sustainable Biofuel Processes and Supply Chains: Challenges and Opportunities. Processes 2015, 3, 634-663.

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