Carbon Balance Evaluation in Sugarcane Biorefineries in Brazil for Carbon Capture and Utilisation Purposes

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Sugarcane biorefineries, despite contributing to energy sustainability and mitigation of carbon emissions, produce a large amount of carbon dioxide as a by-product of their conversion techniques. This study aims in the carbon balance evaluation of the conversion process of a typical autonomous distillery in the centre-south region of Brazil in order to acknowledge the conversion of this element into carbon dioxide. Three different scenarios were considered since Brazilian sugarcane mills are evolving from a typical first generation unit to an integrated first and second generation plant, where sugarcane residues, such as bagasse and straw, are used as well as feedstock for biofuel and bioelectricity production. The results for carbon mass balance calculations showed that in all the designed scenarios the sugarcane carbon was essentially converted into CO2 and in a smaller proportion into the major product (ethanol). The conversion of carbon into CO2 and ethanol ranged from 41% to 53% and 17% to 22%, respectively. As a conclusion, the main carbon stream is within CO2 that nowadays, is vented in the air and do not have positive impacts on efforts towards carbon management. Considering that this carbon volume provides an interesting platform to increase the energy bounded to the same amount of carbon harvested from sugarcane fields, PtG technologies can increase the sugarcane fuels energy content up to 3 times per year, transforming the CO2 that is a liability into an asset.

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... SC can minimize chloride (Cl) [11] while AC reduces ammonium (N) and sulfate (S) concentration [12], providing N, S-and Cl-stress cultivation conditions, respectively. Although ADV has relatively high carbon concentrations, the biorefinery's CO 2 is a possible additional carbon source for the cultivation [13]. ...
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This study describes a new algal biofuel process that integrates sugarcane biorefinery wastewater treatment by nutrient removal with algae into bioethanol. The process is free of common industrial problems, including algal contamination, nutrients and fresh water usage, carbohydrate extraction, liquefaction, and saccharification. Cultivation and fermentation were conducted in one step by turning the light-air on and off, respectively. Three series of experiments with Chlamydomonas reinhardtii CC-1093 cultivation and fermentation were performed in anaerobically digested vinasse. Control experiments were a reference to compare the influence of chloride and ammonium-sulfate stress conditions on ethanol yield. Experimental results showed: (1) algal biomass can be successfully cultured within biorefinery wastewater (1129 mg·L⁻¹·day⁻¹); (2) relatively high bioremediation was achieved (26.1%–83.5%); (3) obtained ethanol yield was (maximum 68.3% of the theoretical yield) in one process step; and (4) the chloride stress condition influences on algae to synthesize extracellular polysaccharides as add-in product (120 mg/L). Graphic Abstract
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