Sustainability Assessment of a Biorefinery Complex in Thailand
In this paper, a biorefinery complex in Thailand was assessed vis-à-vis sustainability. The complex studied includes plantations of sugarcane and a biorefinery system composed of several units including, a sugar mill, power plant, ethanol factory and fertilizer plant. The assessment aimed at evaluating the environmental and socio-economic implications relating to molasses-based ethanol production and use, and maximized utilization of the biomass materials produced as part of the biorefinery complex. Global warming potential, human development index and total value added are the three indicators that were selected to perform the assessment. The results obtained revealed that the maximization of biomass utilization at the level of the biorefinery complex provide greenhouse gases emissions reduction benefits, enhanced living conditions for sugarcane farmers and employees of the biorefinery, and economic benefits, particularly with regard to profit and income generation. These results could serve as a first step to further improve and design indicators for sustainability assessment of biomass utilization.
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