Welcome to the Exergoecology Portal
You are here: Home / Resources / Exergoecology bibliography / Exergy-Based Efficiency and Renewability Assessment of Biofuel Production

J. Dewulf, H. v Langenhove, and B. vd Velde (2005)

Exergy-Based Efficiency and Renewability Assessment of Biofuel Production

Environ. Sci. Technol., 39:3878-3882.

This study presents an efficiency and renewability analysis of the production of three biofuels: rapeseed methyl ester (RME), soybean methyl ester (SME) and cornbased ethanol (EtOH). The overall production chains have been taken into account: not only the agricultural crop production and the industrial conversion into biofuel, but also production of the supply of agricultural resources (pesticides, fertilizers, fuel, seeding material) and industrial resources (energy and chemicals) to transform the crops into biofuel. Simultaneously, byproducts of the agricultural and industrial processes have been taken into account when resources have to be allocated to the biofuels. The technical analysis via the second law of thermodynamics revealed that corn-based EtOH results in the highest production rate with an exergetic fuel content of 68.8 GJ ha-1 yr-1, whereas the RME and SME results were limited to 47.5 and 16.4 GJ ha-1 yr-1. The allocated nonrenewable resource input to deliver these biofuels is significant: 16.5, 15.4, and 5.6 MJ ha-1 yr-1. This means that these biofuels, generally considered as renewable resources, embed a nonrenewable fraction of one-quarter for EtOH and even one-third for RME and SME. This type of analysis provides scientifically sound quantitative information that is necessary with respect to the sustainability analysis of so-called renewable energy.

Document Actions


Please subscribe for the new newsletter.

Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Ulysea S.L. - Informática

Thermodynamics for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Cover Thermodynamics

Wojciech Stanek (Editor)

This book examines ways of assessing the rational management of nonrenewable resources. Integrating numerous methods, it systematically exposes the strengths of exergy analysis in resources management.

Thanatia: The Destiny of the Earth's Mineral Resources

Cover Thanatia

A Thermodynamic Cradle-to-Cradle Assessment by (author): Antonio Valero Capilla and Alicia Valero Delgado

Is Gaia becoming Thanatia, a resource exhausted planet? For how long can our high-tech society be sustained in the light of declining mineral ore grades, heavy dependence on un-recycled critical metals and accelerated material dispersion? These are all root causes of future disruptions that need to be addressed today.