Biorefinery Technologies for Biomass Conversion Into Chemicals and Fuels Towards Zero Emissions (Review) / Nulles Emisiju Princips Biomasas Konversijas Tehnoloģijās Aizstājot Fosilos Resursus (Pārskata Raksts)

J. Gravitis 1  and J. Abolins 2
  • 1 Laboratory of Biomass Eco-Efficient Conversion of the Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry, 27 Dzerbenes Str., Riga, LV-1006, LATVIA
  • 2 Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy of the University of Latvia 27 Dzerbenes Str, Riga, LV-1586, LATVIA


Exhausting of world resources, increasing pollution, and climate change are compelling the shift of the world economy from continuous growth to a kind of economy based on integration of technologies into zero emissions production systems. Transition from non-renewable fossil resources to renewable resources provided by solar radiation and the current processes in biosphere is seen in the bio-refinery approach - replacing crude oil refineries by biomass refineries. Biotechnology and nano-technologies are getting accepted as important players along with conventional biomass refinery technologies. Systems design is a significant element in the integration of bio-refinery technologies in clusters. A number of case-studies, steam explosion auto-hydrolysis (SEA) in particular, are reviewed to demonstrate conversion of biomass into value-added chemicals and fuels. Analysis of energy flows is made as part of modelling the SEA processes, the eMergy (energy memory) approach and sustainability indices being applied to assess environmental impacts.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Costanza, R. et al. (2007). Quality of Life: An Approach Integrating Opportunities, Human Needs, and Subjective Well-Being. Ecological Economics, 61, 267-276.

  • 2. Pauli, G. (1996). Breakthroughs. What Business Can Offer Society. Epsilon Press Ltd.

  • 3. Pauli, G. (1998). Upsizing. The Road to Zero Emissions. More Jobs, More Income and No Pollution. Greenleaf Publishing.

  • 4. Gravitis, J. (1998). A Biochemical approach to attributing value to biodiversity - The Concept of the Zero Emissions Biorefinery. Presented at the 4th Annual Word Congress on Zero Emissions. Windhoek (Namibia).

  • 5. Gravitis, J., & Suzuki, M. (1999). Biomass Refinery - a Way to Produce Value-Added Products and Base for Agricultural Zero Emissions System. Proceedings of 1999 International Conference on Agricultural Engineering. Beijing (China).

  • 6. Gravitis, J. (1999). Biorefinery and Lignocellulosics Economy Towards Zero Emissions. In: Targeting Zero Emissions for the Utilisation of Renewable Resources (Biorefinery, Chemical Risk Reduction, Lignocellulosic Economy), Eds. K. Iijama, J. Gravitis, A. Sakoda, Tokyo, Japan, Published by UNU/IAS, ANESC/UT and IIS/UT, 2-11.

  • 7. Gravitis, J. (2008). Biorefinery: Biomaterials and Bioenergy from Photosynthesis, within Zero Emissions Framework. Sustainable Energy Production and Consumption. NATO Science for Peace and Security Series- C: Environmental Security. Eds. F. Barbir, S. Ulgiati. Springer, 327-337.

  • 8. Gravitis, J. (2006). Green biobased chemistry platform for sustainability. In: Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability, Peter Lang Publishers House, Frankfurt am Maim, Berlin, Bern, Brussels, New York, Oxford, Wien,Vol.23, 145-160.

  • 9. Kamm, B., & Kamm, M. (2004). Principles of biorefineries. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 64(2). 137-145.

  • 10. Kamm, B. et al. (2006). Lignocellulosic feedstock biorefinery - combination of technologies of agroforestry and a biobased substance and energy economy. Forum der Forchung, 19, 53-62.

  • 11. Lange, I-P. (2007). Lignocellulose conversion: an introduction to chemistry, process and economics (review). Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref., 1, 39-48.

  • 12. Gruber, P., Henton, DE., & Starr, J. (2006). Polylactic acid from renewable resources. In: Biorefineries - Industrial processes and products. Status quo and future directions. Kamm B, Gruber PR, and Kamm M (eds), Vol. 2, 381-407, Wiley-VCH.

  • 13. Gravitis, J. (1987). Theoretical and applied aspects of the steam explosion plant biomass autohydrolysis method. Khimiya Drevesiny (Wood Chemistry), 5, 3-21. (Review, in Russian).

  • 14. Kallavus, U., & Gravitis, J. (1995). Comparative investigation of the ultrastructure of steam exploded wood with light, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, Holzforschung, 49, 182-188.

  • 15. Kukle, S., Gravitis, J., & Putnina, A. (2012). Processing parameters influence on disintegration intensity of technical hemp fibres. J. of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, 6, 1-8.

  • 16. Overend, R.P., & Chornet,, E. (1987). Fractionation of lignocellulosics by steam aqueous pretreatments. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. Ser. A-Math. Phys. Eng. Sci., 321 (1561), 523-536.

  • 17. Gravitis, J. (1997). Material Separation Technologies. In: Proceedings of the Second Annual UNU World Congress on Zero Emissions, May 29-31, 1996, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Published by the United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies, Tokyo, 168-173.

  • 18. Carere, C, R. et al. (2008). Third generation biofuels via direct cellulose fermentation. Int. J. Mol. Sci., 9(7), 1342-1360.

  • 19. Gravitis, J., & Abolins, J. (2007). Biomass conversion to chemicals and nanomaterials. 15th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, 7-11 May, Berlin (Germany).

  • 20. Abolins, J., & Gravitis, J. (2007). Biomass conversion to transportation fuels, combustibles, and nano-materials by steam explosion. Latv. J. Phys. Tech. Sci., (4), 29-39.

  • 21. Odum, H.T. (1996). Environmental Accounting. Emergy and Environmental Decision Making. New York, etc.: John Wiley & Sons.

  • 22. Brown, M. T, & Ulgiati, S. (2004). Encyclopedia of Energy 2: Elsevier, 329.

  • 23. Nagyvary, J., DiVerdi, J.A., Owen, N.L., & Tolley, H.D. (2006). Wood used by Stradivari and Guarneri. Nature, 444, 565.

  • 24. Erins, P. (1977). Wood structure and properties as polymer components system. Wood Chemistry, 1, 8-25 (in Russian).

  • 25. Gravitis, J. (1994). The Lignin Structure from the Point of View of the Riga Group, - International Lignin Institute. Lignin Newsletter, 2, 2-4.

  • 26. Vainio, U., Maximova, N., Hortling, Bo., Laine, J., Stenius, P., Simola, L.K., Gravitis, J., & Serimaa, R. (2004). Morphology of dry lignins and size and shape of dissolved lignin particles by x-ray scattering. Langmuir, 20, 9736 - 9744.

  • 27. Leaflet: Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffee.V. (distributed at the 15th European Biomass Conference, Berlin, 2007, FNR, 2008).

  • 28. Spangenberg, J. H. (2008). Biomass or Biomess? The Promises and Limits of Bioenergy. In: NATO Science for Peace and Security Series- C: Environmental Security. Eds. F. Barbir, S. Ulgiati. Springer, 55-65.


Journal + Issues