As the largest contributor to renewable energy, biomass (especially lignocellulosic biomass) has significant potential to address atmospheric emission and energy shortage issues. The bio-fuels derived from lignocellulosic biomass are popularly referred to as second-generation bio-fuels. To date, several thermochemical conversion pathways for the production of second-generation bio-fuels have shown commercial promise; however, most of these remain at various pre-commercial stages. In view of their imminent commercialization, it is important to conduct a profound and comprehensive comparison of these production techniques. Accordingly, the scope of this review is to fill this essential knowledge gap by mapping the entire value chain of second-generation bio-fuels from technical, economic, and environmental perspectives. This value chain covers (i) the thermochemical technologies used to convert solid biomass feedstock into easier-to-handle intermediates, such as bio-oil, syngas, methanol, and Fischer-Tropsch fuel; and (ii) the upgrading technologies used to convert intermediates into end products, including diesel, gasoline, renewable jet fuels, hydrogen, char, olefins, and oxygenated compounds. This review also provides an economic and commercial assessment of these technologies, with the aim of identifying the most adaptable technology for the production of bio-fuels, fuel additives, and bio-chemicals. A detailed mapping of the carbon footprints of the various thermochemical routes to second-generation bio-fuels is also carried out. The review concludes by identifying key challenges and future trends for second-generation petroleum substitute bio-fuels.
- renewable energy
- lignocellulosic biomass