Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Jian Shi


Sulfur accumulation during biofuel production is pollutive, toxic to conversion catalysts, and causes the premature breakdown of processing equipment. Air classification is an effective preprocessing technology for ash and sulfur removal from biomass feedstocks. A life cycle assessment (LCA) sought to understand the environmental impacts of implementing air classification as a sulfur-mitigation technique for pine residues. Energy demand and material balance for preprocessing were simulated using SimaPro and the Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET model, specifically focusing on comparing the global warming potential (GWP) of grid electricity versus bioelectricity scenarios. Overall, the grid electricity scenario had a GWP impact over 7 times that of the bioelectricity scenario with the largest source of impact from steam generation during rotary drying. Air classification represents 0.4% and 1.6% of total GWP impact for the grid electricity and bioelectricity scenarios, respectively. Therefore, air classification can facilitate significant sulfur reduction to improve rates of biofuel conversion and lessen corrosion of combustion equipment while contributing minimal GWP impact during preprocessing.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)