Techno-Economic and Life Cycle Assessment for the Production of Green Composites

Techno-Economic and Life Cycle Assessment for the Production of Green Composites

Siddharth Jain (College of Engineering Roorkee, India and University of Alberta, Canada) and Xiaolei Zhang (Queen's University Belfast, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1798-6.ch016
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Botanically, green composites belong to an economically important seed plant family that includes maize, wheat, rice, and sorghum known as Saccharum offi cinarum. There are so many natural fibers available in the environment such as rice husk, hemp fibers, flax fibers, bamboo fibers, coconut fiber, coconut coir, grawia optiva and many others also. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a process to estimate the environmental feature and potential impacts related to a product, by organizing a directory of pertinent inputs and outputs of a product system, assessing the potential environmental impacts related with the said inputs and outputs, explaining the results of the inventory analysis and impact evaluation phases in connection to the objectives of the study. Particularly Bagasse, an agricultural residue not only becomes a problem from the environmental point of view, but also affects the profitability of the sugarcane industries. This chapter discusses the properties, processing methods and various other aspects including economic and environmental aspects related to green composites.
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Economic Factors Of Woody Biomass

Biomass generally has two main categories: “virgin biomass” which mainly comprises forestry and energy crops and “waste biomass” leading from the forest thinning, wood residues, recycling, sewage, municipal wastes, food and animal wastes as well as the domestic waste. Despite the advent of modern fossil energy technologies, the biomass still regarded as the vital source of energy for human beings and also for the advancement of raw materials used especially in the present era of the developing world. According to a recent estimation, it has been noted that the biomass production is about eight times higher than the total annual world consumption of energy from all other sources available on earth. According to literature reports in 2003, the world’s population uses only a 7% of the estimated annual production of biomass on the basis of new reading of the production rate (Koren and Bisesi 2003; Berndes et al. 2003).

The energy generated from biomass combustion is used as the basic heat source for all the processes and the heat energy is used to vaporize the working fluid in the medium available. The vapour is stretched downward in the turbine to produce mechanical energy which is further converted into electricity through hydroelectricity and geothermal energy as an alternative source of energy. During the process, an electric boiler is utilized for the preliminary investigation of the whole system and the energy liberated by the combustion of biomass lies in the range of 8 MJ/Kg for wet greenwood to 55 MJ/kg for oven dried plant material; while a 55 MJ/kg is generated from methane combustion and 23–30 MJ/kg for coal burning (Twidell 1998).

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