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Open AccessArticle

Emergy Evaluation of Different Straw Reuse Technologies in Northeast China

by Xiaoxian Zhang and Fang Ma *,†
School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Susan Krumdieck and Deepak Pant
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11360-11377;
Received: 8 July 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Biomass Energy)
Open burning of straw in China has degraded agricultural environments and has become a contributor to air pollution. Development of efficient straw-reuse technologies not only can yield economic benefits but also can protect the environment and can provide greater benefit to society. Thus, the overall benefits of straw-reuse technologies must be considered when making regional development planning and enterprise technology decisions. In addition, agricultural areas in China cross several climatic zones and have different weather characteristics and cultural conditions. In the present study, we assessed five types of straw-reuse technologies (straw-biogas production, -briquetting, -based power generation, -gasification, and -bioethanol production), using emergy analysis, in northeast China. Within each type, five individual cases were investigated, and the highest-performing cases were used for comparison across technologies. Emergy indices for comprehensive benefits for each category, namely, EYR, ELR, and ESI were calculated. Calculated indices suggest that straw-briquetting and -biogas production are the most beneficial technologies in terms of economy, environmental impact, and sustainability compared to straw-based power generation, -gasification, and -bioethanol production technologies. These two technologies can thus be considered the most suitable for straw reuse in China. View Full-Text
Keywords: emergy; straw-reuse technology; comprehensive analysis; northeast China emergy; straw-reuse technology; comprehensive analysis; northeast China
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Zhang, X.; Ma, F. Emergy Evaluation of Different Straw Reuse Technologies in Northeast China. Sustainability 2015, 7, 11360-11377.

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