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|2011 ||Marguerite Renouf (2011). Environmental evaluation of product diversification in sugarcane systems using life-cycle assessment: An Australian case study PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning & Env Management, The University of Queensland.|
The depletion of fossil-fuel resources, and the global warming that is now recognised to result from their use, has led to the pursuit of replacements for fossil fuels. Societies are looking to biomass resources as alternative sources of energy, fuels, and materials. Agricultural crops may play an increasingly important role in meeting future demand for energy and material products from biomass, and careful assessment of the implications of biomass production is needed to ensure this can be achieved sustainably. A growing body of research uses life cycle assessment (LCA) to examine the environmental impacts of crop-derived products as alternatives to fossil fuels, and has led to a better understanding of the benefits and trade-offs for a number of bio-production pathways. However, until very recently, there has been little evaluation of tropical crops. Sugarcane in particular is recognised as an ideal candidate crop for bio-production because of its high yields of both sugar and fibre, and the diverse range of bio-products that can be derived from it. However there has been relatively little comprehensive assessment to date of the environmental considerations of using it for bio-production. This thesis examines the environmental implications of producing bio-energy and bio-materials from sugarcane, using the Australian sugarcane industry as a case study. This research is novel because it examines crop-based bio-production from a systems perspective as well as from a product perspective. Prior work has tended to focus on assessing the environmental attributes of bio-products themselves. This work also considers the environmental implications of changing the function of the agro-industrial system that produces them. While the methodology for applying LCA to agricultural products is now well developed, some important considerations for sugarcane systems emerged during this research, which had not been previously examined. They were variations in sugarcane growing,...
| Dr Marguerite Renouf|
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|Keywords: ||Life cycle assessment, Sugarcane, Agro-industry, Diversification, Bio-fuels, electricity, Bio-plastics|