The aim of this study was to conduct a lifecycle analysis of the direct and indirect energy inputs and outputs flowing through a bioethanol pathway in Kenya, using the life cycle energy assessment technique and energy performance indicators. The study was performed in western Kenya, and data was obtained from Mumias Sugar Company and Spectre International ethanol distillery. Fertilizers made up the largest share of energy inputs, while industrial chemicals were the lowest. Indirect inputs had a larger impact on the energy balance because of co-generation of electricity and steam by bagasse and biogas. The energy ratio of the system was 1.5 MJ of ethanol produced per MJ of net energy inputs. The total energy consumed in the system was 13.6 MJ of inputs per litre of ethanol produced. The primary energy ratio which takes into account only the primary energy use is much higher, at about 4.2 MJ of ethanol produced per MJ of fossil inputs.
The wider implications of the findings are discussed, and suggestions made as to how to improve the results of this assessment. The significance of biofuel assessments to decision making is also discussed.
Chiatula, E. Energy footprint of locally produced bioethanol in Kenya. (2013) 16 pp.