Life Cycle Assessment in Support of the Commercialization of Cellulosic Ethanol
DuPont Carina Alles,
DuPont Jamie Ginn,
DuPont Bruce Vrana,
DuPont Robert Sylvester,
DuPont Chris Johnas,
DuPont Susan Hennessey,
In 2008, DuPont and Genencor, a division of Danisco, formed the joint venture DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC (DDCE), with the mission to accelerate the development of commercial scale biorefineries, create value for the renewable fuels and agricultural industries, and lead the way toward a low-carbon economy (www.ddce.com). Current research and development efforts in the DDCE cellulosic ethanol program focus on optimized process design for the conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol.
When life cycle assessment is integrated with process development early in a biofuel research and development program, environmental benefits and consequences of business and technology choices can be thoroughly evaluated. The DDCE is using life cycle assessment as a scientific decision support technique to quantify the environmental implications of various biorefinery process, feedstock, and integration options. Through the use of LCA, we see that cellulosic ethanol has the potential to provide a sustainable solution to the nation’s growing concerns around energy security and climate change.