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Prioritization of Bioethanol Production Systems from Agricultural and Waste Agricultural Biomass Using Multi-criteria Decision Making

Sahar Safarian (), Sorena Sattari, Runar Unnthorsson and Zeinab Hamidzadeh
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Sahar Safarian: University of Iceland
Sorena Sattari: Sharif University of Technology
Runar Unnthorsson: University of Iceland
Zeinab Hamidzadeh: Scientific and Technological Department of Presidential Office

Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, 2019, vol. 4, issue 1, 1-16

Abstract: Abstract In this paper, the problem of sustainability assessment of various types of bioethanol plants is addressed. This represents the first evaluation of 30 bioethanol systems fed by agricultural and waste agricultural biomass in Iran, using multi-criteria decision analysis relying on seven sustainability criteria (total cost, benefit, fossil energy ratio, energy use efficiency, greenhouse gas [GHG] emission, land use, and production yield) and five representative decision-maker preference scenarios. The results show that most agricultural systems are not feasible in terms of economics, energy, and the environment. However, agricultural wastes are attractive feedstocks for bioethanol production, since they are cost-effective, renewable, and abundant. The results across several preference scenarios for waste crops indicate that producing bioethanol from sugarcane currently scores highest in sustainability for Iran. Barley and strawberry have the lowest ranks in most scenarios due to their high GHG emissions and low production yield. In addition to sugarcane, potato and sugar beet are the most beneficial from the energy and environmental perspectives. Pear and apple also have high-middle status among the considered scenarios for Iran. These results suggest that design policies promoting the use of agricultural wastes for energy production may appeal to decision makers with a diverse range of economic, environmental, and energy preferences. Finally, this type of research can provide arguments to support decisions tending toward a more structured and strategic approach in implementing sustainable energy policies.

Keywords: Sustainability assessment; Multi-criteria decision analysis; Bioethanol supply; Agricultural biomasses; Agricultural wastes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s41247-019-0052-0

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