Abstract

Environmental impacts from the development of banagrass (Pennisetum purpureum)-based ethanol production on Hawaii Island may create air quality problems. Air pollutants considered in this study include re-suspended soil dust (also known as PM2.5 and PM10) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. The resulting pollutant emissions are then compared against the Federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) significant standard for the environmental impact assessment. This study combines GIS and a mathematical computational model to logically and effectively examine potential spatial impacts of ethanol development on air quality on Hawaii Island. This study found that mechanical harvesting of banagrass generates higher dust emission than other agricultural crops. The total PM10 emission of 248.18 tons per year was found statistically equivalent to the PSD significant permitting requirement limit of 250 tons per year (tpy) and thus considered as a major stationary source of fugitive dust pollution. The annual CO2 emission amount of 19,371.72 tons is less than the PSD significant permitting requirement of 75,000 tons of CO2 per year. As a result, this estimated amount is not considered as a major stationary source of pollution.

Highlights

  • Environmental impacts from the development of banagrass (Pennisetum purpureum)-based ethanol production on Hawaii Island may create air quality problems

  • Air pollutants considered in this study include re-suspended soil dust from in-field feedstock transport during harvesting (PM10 and PM2.5 include particulate matter less than 10 and 2.5 microns in aerodynamic diameter, respectively [13]); and carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emission from combusted fuel released during harvesting and transporting feedstock from production fields to the ethanol processing plant and from the distribution of ethanol

  • The spatial distribution of dust emission primarily depends on the distribution of silt content in the soil which ranges from 28.76% to 31.70% for PM2.5 and from 33.34% to 40.36% for

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Summary

Introduction

Environmental impacts from the development of banagrass (Pennisetum purpureum)-based ethanol production on Hawaii Island may create air quality problems. Tran and Yanagida (2016) [1] suggested that a cellulosic ethanol plant with a 9 million gallons of ethanol per year (MGY) capacity would meet about 2% of the State’s highway fuel demand. This facility is designed to operate at full capacity. PBD operates 24 h/day divided into three shifts and operate all year around. They perform regular maintenance [2]). A total land area of 3080 ha was optimally located on the northern part of Hawaii Island in order to provide enough feedstock for the ethanol processing plant. Given an ethanol conversion rate of 80 gallons per dry ton of banagrass [3] and moisture content of banagrass at harvesting time of 70% [4], a total amount of 1056 wet tons of banagrass feedstock is required to meet the daily target amount of ethanol produced

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