Concerns about sustainability and security of fossil energy, along with advances in biofuel technology, have simulated interest in second-generation ethanol production from lignocellulosic material. The ability to produce fuel from non-food crops and potential improved efficiencies have spurred significant scientific and socioeconomic research. While second-generation ethanol is generally agreed to provide savings of both GHG emissions and fossil fuel use, impacts associated with the production of these fuels remain which must be assessed and minimised. Both the biomass source and conversion technology are important to GHG and energy balances. However, a wider range of environmental issues is needed for an overall view of the sustainability of lignocellulosic ethanol production. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has proved a tool that can help identify where these impacts are, enabling researchers and industry to focus on areas with the most significant potential reductions. This chapter outlines major impact points for lignocellulosic ethanol production and indicates some opportunities for improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreenhouse Gas Balances of Bioenergy Systems
EditorsP. Thornley, P. Adams
Place of PublicationFrance
PublisherElsevier Masson
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780081010365
ISBN (Print)9780128094587
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Biogenic
  • GHG reduction
  • Lignocellulose
  • Process optimization
  • System boundaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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