Life cycle carbon footprint of linear alkylbenzenesulfonate from coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and petroleum-based paraffins

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Conference Proceeding

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Beyond renewable liquid transportation fuels from biomass feedstocks, there is great interest to use renewable feedstocks for sustainable chemical production. The goal of this study is to conduct an original cradle-to-grave carbon footprint for linear alkylbenzenesulfonate (LAS) using petroleum, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil derived paraffins, and including end of life emissions during wastewater treatment. The fully petroleum pathway to LAS was modeled using new inputs from industry (UOP). Mass allocation and energy allocation methodologies were both examined. We found that the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of LAS can be reduced between 45 and 50% by replacing petroleum based paraffins with coconut or palm kernel oil derived paraffins. End of life emissions of CO2 during biodegradation in wastewater treatment was a major contributor to and differentiator of emissions in the carbon footprint. Direct land use change (dLUC) emissions of CO2 were modeled using the IPCC method and were found to decrease life cycle emissions by at most 12% when either grasslands or shrublands are converted to either coconut or palm plantations. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Publication Title

ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering