The role of sustainability assessment tools in realizing bioenergy and bioproduct systems

Document Type : Review Paper


1 UniversDepartment of Mechanical Engineering of Agricultural Machinery, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran.ity of Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering of Agricultural Machinery, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran.

3 Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HICoE), Institute of Tropical Aquaculture and Fisheries (AKUATROP), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, Malaysia.

4 Henan Province Engineering Research Center for Forest Biomass Value-added Products, School of Forestry, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, Henan, China.


The pressing global challenges, including global warming and climate change, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the Covid-19 pandemic, all are indicative of the necessity of a transition from fossil-based systems toward bioenergy and bioproduct to ensure our plans for sustainable development. Such a transition, however, should be thoroughly engineered, considering the sustainability of the different elements of these systems. Advanced sustainability tools are instrumental in realizing this important objective. The present work critically reviews these tools, including techno-economic, life cycle assessment, emergy, energy, and exergy analyses, within the context of the bioenergy and bioproduct systems. The principles behind these methods are briefly explained, and then their pros and cons in designing, analyzing, and optimizing bioenergy and bioproduct systems are highlighted. Overall, it can be concluded that despite the promises held by these tools, they cannot be regarded as perfect solutions to address all the issues involved in realizing bioenergy and bioproduct systems, and integration of these tools can provide more reliable and accurate results than single approaches.

Graphical Abstract

The role of sustainability assessment tools in realizing bioenergy and bioproduct systems


  • Sustainability assessment tools in the context of bioenergy and bioproduct are critically reviewed.
  • The pros and cons of various sustainability assessment tools are highlighted to guide future research.
  • There is no perfect tool that address all the sustainability issues of bioenergy and bioproduct systems.
  • Integration of sustainability tools can provide more reliable and accurate results than single approaches.
  • Exergy-based analyses can outperform other sustainability tools in providing more informative indicators.


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