Date: November 8, 2012

Life Cycle Associates developed a life cycle analysis tool and examined greenhouse gas impacts for several feedstock options for BioAmber, a next generation chemicals company. We examined several feedstocks and process options in collaboration with Riffel Consulting.

BioAmber will supply biobased succinic acid to the Faurecia-Mitsubishi Chemical partnership for the production of automotive plastics. BioAmber uses renewable agricultural feedstocks to produce succinic acid and other chemicals; and contracted with Life Cycle Associates to determine the field-to-gate life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other life cycle criteria associated with bio-succinic acid. BioAmber’s proprietary fermentation process converts sugars to succinic acid.  Life Cycle Associates examined a variety of feedstocks using our life cycle module (LCM), which models the production of bio-succinic acid based on life cycle inventory data extracted from Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET life cycle model, the European BioGrace model, and input parameters representing BioAmber’s chemical production pathway. The analysis shows how process inputs and yields correspond to life cycle impacts.  The tool then allows for the calculation of GHG and other impacts for different feedstock and process configurations. The results were compared to life cycle data for petroleum based succinic acid.

The life cycle module (LCM) conducts a life cycle analysis of fuel pathways based on pathway input parameters and life cycle inventory data that comprise the inputs required to produce each fuel. The LCM contains an input sheet of parameter values, a database of LCI arrays, a calculation matrix, and unit conversion factors. Disaggregated results are calculated by fuel pathway step and presented graphically. The LCM facilitates off-model life cycle analysis of individual fuel pathways and accommodates any fuel pathway or conversion process at any level of disaggregation.