The increasing ethanol production in Brazil is deeply related to the global demand for alternative energy sources which can both decrease the reliance of economic sectors on non-renewable energy and drive global energy production towards a more sustainable situation. Simultaneously, it is important to improve techniques that allow the assessment of environmental impacts from different scenarios of biofuel production, aiming to improve its sustainability. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is recognized as a powerful methodology that provides detailed information about the environmental impacts related to agricultural production, industrial stage and consumption phase of sugarcane-based products and co-products. However, LCA has some limitations regarding the definition of system boundaries and also requires huge effort during the data collection for Life Cycle Inventory. In this sense, a different LCA technique such as the Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) emerges as an alternative to perform LCA in a more agile way. This approach is based on the country's input-output matrix, which allows calculating the direct and indirect impacts related to all production sectors of a country. During this project, the EIO-LCA approach will be used to simulate the environmental impacts related to different technological scenarios of bioethanol production in the Virtual Sugarcane Biorefinery (VSB), under development by the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE).
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: