Economic and agronomic impact assessment of wheat straw based alkyl polyglucoside produced using green chemical approaches

Kadambari Lokesh*, Christopher West, Johan CI Kuylenstierna, Jiajun Fan, Vitaliy Budarin, Peter Priecel, Jose A. Lopez-Sanchez, James H. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Results from a previous environmental impact assessment highlight the potential for the proposed process, that converts low-value agricultural residue (wheat straw) into a high-value biosurfactant, to result in significant (>75%) GHG savings, relative to the commercial candidate derived from palm kernel and wheat grain. This was achieved via the use of low-energy techniques like supercritical CO2 extraction, low-temperature microwave and in-situ fractionation of platform chemicals. Despite the environmental benefits, process commercialization relies on the economic feasibility of the production. Adopting a ‘cradle-to-gate’ life cycle costing approach, this paper has quantified the economic feasibility and resource efficiency characteristics of producing wheat-straw based APG, via the previously suggested green low-waste generating processes. Here, we undertook economic analysis of a wheat straw-derived APG production pathway, in comparison to palm-kernel and wheat-grain APG. Total processing costs were determined to range between $0.92- $1.87 per kg of wheat straw-APG demonstrating relatively better output service quality and energy efficiency, while conventional APG costs $1.95- $2.87 per kg, highlighting the significant potential of the residue-derived pathway to be scaled to commercial-level. In addition, a semi-quantitative assessment of the demand-based implications of adopting and scaling-up the green process, in the current context and practices of wheat cultivation was also undertaken. Potential agronomic impact that might be result from such scale-up scenarios, focusing on the effect of conventional residue incorporation practiced by farmers was assessed in detail to encourage farmers opt for informed choices and also to encourage both environmentally and economically sustainable systems-thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-296
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date25 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Agronomic analysis
  • Cradle to gate
  • LCA
  • Life cycle costing
  • Resource efficiency

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