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Sustainability assessment of sugarcane biorefinery and molasses ethanol production in Thailand using eco-efficiency indicator


  • Silalertruksa, Thapat
  • Gheewala, Shabbir H.
  • Pongpat, Patcharaporn


The study aims to evaluate the sugarcane biorefinery and molasses ethanol production in Thailand using the combined environmental and economic sustainability indicator, so called “Eco-efficiency”. Four sugarcane biorefinery scenarios in Thailand are evaluated. The total output values (US$) and the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (kgCO2eq) are selected as the indicators for characterizing economic and environmental performance, respectively. The results show that the biorefinery system of mechanized farming along with cane trash utilization for power generation yields the highest eco-efficiency. The benefits come from the increased value added of the biorefinery together with the decreased GHG emissions of the biorefinery system. As compared to the base case scenario, the new systems proposed result in the eco-efficiency improvement by around 20–70%. The biorefinery concept induces reduction of GHG emissions attributed to molasses ethanol. Green cane production and harvesting results in further lowering of the GHG emissions. Integration of sugarcane biomass utilization across the entire sugarcane complex would enhance the sustainability of the sugarcane production system.

Suggested Citation

  • Silalertruksa, Thapat & Gheewala, Shabbir H. & Pongpat, Patcharaporn, 2015. "Sustainability assessment of sugarcane biorefinery and molasses ethanol production in Thailand using eco-efficiency indicator," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 603-609.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:160:y:2015:i:c:p:603-609
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.08.087

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Bo & Sarathy, S. Mani, 2016. "Lifecycle optimized ethanol-gasoline blends for turbocharged engines," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 38-53.
    2. Khatiwada, Dilip & Venkata, Bharadwaj K. & Silveira, Semida & Johnson, Francis X., 2016. "Energy and GHG balances of ethanol production from cane molasses in Indonesia," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 756-768.
    3. Khoodaruth, A. & Oree, V. & Elahee, M.K. & Clark, Woodrow W., 2017. "Exploring options for a 100% renewable energy system in Mauritius by 2050," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 38-49.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:952-:d:137882 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Budzianowski, Wojciech M. & Postawa, Karol, 2016. "Total Chain Integration of sustainable biorefinery systems," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 1432-1446.
    6. Mutanga, Shingirirai Savious & de Vries, Marne & Mbohwa, Charles & Kumar, Dillip Das & Rogner, Holger, 2016. "An integrated approach for modeling the electricity value of a sugarcane production system," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 823-838.


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