Scientific article

Economics and GHG emission reduction of a PLA bio-refinery system—Combining bottom-up analysis with price elasticity effects

Published inResources, conservation and recycling, vol. 46, no. 4, p. 377-409
Publication date2006

This paper analyses energy savings, GHG emission reductions and costs of bio-refinery systems for polylactic acid (PLA) production. The systems comprise ‘multi-functional' uses of biomass resources, i.e. use of agricultural residues for energy consumption, use of by-products, and recycling and wasteto- energy recovery of materials. We evaluate the performance of these systems per kg of bio-based polymer produced and per ha of biomass production. The evaluation is done using data of Poland assuming that biomass and PLA production is embedded in a European energy and material market. First, the performance of different bio-refinery systems is investigated by means of a bottom-up chain analysis. Second, an analysis is applied that derives market prices of products and land depending on the own-price elasticity of demand. Thus, the costs of bio-refinery systems depending on the demand of land and material are determined. It is found that all PLA bio-refinery systems considered lead to net savings of non-renewable energy consumption of 70–220 GJ/(ha yr) and net GHG emission reductions of 3–17MgCO2eq/(ha yr). Most of these PLA bio-refinery systems lead to net costs for the overall system of up to 4600 D /(ha yr). PLA production from short rotation wood leads to net benefits of about 1100 D /(ha yr) if a high amount of a high value product, i.e. fibres, is produced. Multi-functionality is necessary to ensure the viability of PLA bio-refinery systems from biomass with regard to energy savings and GHG emission reduction. However, the multi-functional use of biomass does not contribute much to overall incomes. Multifunctional biomass use – especially the use of biomass residues for energy consumption – contributes significantly to savings of nonrenewable energy sources. Own-price elasticity of the demand for materials influences the overall costs of the bio-refinery system strongly. The own-price elasticity of land demand markets could become important if bio-refineries are introduced on a large scale.

  • Polylactic acid (PLA)
  • Multi-functional biomass use
  • System analysis
  • Elasticity
  • Recycling
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
DORNBURG, V. et al. Economics and GHG emission reduction of a PLA bio-refinery system—Combining bottom-up analysis with price elasticity effects. In: Resources, conservation and recycling, 2006, vol. 46, n° 4, p. 377–409. doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2005.08.006
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0921-3449

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