A preliminary life cycle assessment of biofuels produced by the IH2 ™ process



Biofuels are alternatives for vehicular transportation that have the promise of reducing imported petroleum, creating regional agricultural and energy sector employment, and decreasing emission of greenhouse gases. This study analyses greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the production and delivery of biofuels using the IH2 process. The IH2 process is a new technology for the conversion of a broad range of biomass types into liquid hydrocarbon transportation fuels spanning the range of gasoline and diesel. A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing and using IH2 biofuels from diverse feedstocks. The biomass feedstocks analyzed include algae (microalgae), bagasse from sugar cane (Brazil or southeast US), corn stover from Midwest US locations, and forest feedstocks from northern Wisconsin. Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions savings of 30–96% were calculated for IH2 gasoline and diesel compared to fossil fuels. Different scenarios were investigated to understand the uncertainties in key inputs to the LCA model; in feedstock production, the IH2 biofuel production, and IH2 biofuel transportation. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 33: 322–329, 2014