A New Approach for the Design and Assessment of Bio-based Chemical Processes toward Sustainability

Substituting biomass for fossil-based feedstock is a potential scenario of chemical production. To achieve sustainable production, various issues must be considered, such as the constraints of limited biomass resources, feasibility of production technologies, and competitiveness of bio-based chemical products. In this study, we developed a new framework for the design and assessment of bio-based chemical processes. Both monetary and nonmonetary indicators including production cost, energy consumption, environmental impact, and safety hazards are considered. The framework was applied to the design and assessment of both existing and emerging new bio-based processes producing potential platform chemicals from bioethanol. On the basis of the design and assessment results, the suitable biomass feedstock, a sustainable synthesis process, a competitive bio-based product, and an appropriate production scenario can be selected. Using data available at the conceptual design stage, the framework can be applied to synthesize high-potential bio-based chemical processes for future sustainability development.