Life Cycle Assessment of Chemical Processes and Products

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Title: Life Cycle Assessment of Chemical Processes and Products
Author: Li, Yong
Advisors: Ruben G. Carbonell, Committee Member
Perry L. Grady, Committee Member
Christine S. Grant, Committee Co-Chair
David F. Ollis, Committee Member
Michael R. Overcash, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: In this study, environmental assessment of carbon dioxide application in soybean oil and bitumen production has been investigated using life cycle approach. In soybean oil production, the initial life cycle comparison finds that the lab scale CO2 system is not as good in life cycle impacts as the hexane system. However, reasonable engineering improvements of typical scale-up practices will make the CO2 technology better than hexane and eliminate the hexane emissions. Utilization of membrane techniques to separate the small molecular CO2 from the soybean oil hydrocarbon appears to be a much better R&D direction for development. In bitumen production, we find extraction step consumes more energy than other steps in the life cycle of bitumen production. Hot water extraction requires more energy than carbon dioxide extraction because of the heating demand of large water flow in the process. Furthermore, Three carpet products: polyvinyl chloride (PVC) backed tile, styrene butadiene latex (SBL) backed broadloom, and polyurethane (PU) backed broadloom, are studied and compared using a life cycle approach. We find that the supply chains of carpet products play very important roles in the life cycle environmental performance of carpet products. Nylon fibers, as the economically significant component in carpet products, are also environmentally significant in the life cycles of carpet products. Our results show that SBL broadloom has the least global warming impact, HH cancer impact, and HH noncancer impact.
Date: 2007-10-28
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Chemical Engineering

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