Environmental assessment of propionic acid produced in an agricultural biomass-based biorefinery system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper presents an environmental system study of the production of propionic acid in a biorefinery system based on agricultural by-products. Here, propionic acid is produced by fermentation of glycerol, a by-product from biodiesel production, as carbon source and potato juice, a by-product from starch production, as nitrogen source. Biomass-based propionic acid leads to a greenhouse gas reduction of 60% compared to propionic acid from fossil sources. However, the primary energy input is about twice as high for the biomass-based propionic acid. The choice of input energy and the efficiency of the process, as well as the technology applied, have high impacts on the environmental performance of the biorefinery concept. There is a potential for increased integration both on the input of substrates and the output of end products of the biorefinery system, which will further improve its environmental performance. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Energy Systems


  • Biorefinery, Life-cycle assessment (LCA), Propionic acid, Biodiesel, Glycerol, Potato residues
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1265
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch