Environmental Impacts of Bio-derived Silicon: Uncertainty in the Benefit of Industrial Transition

Ethan Errington, Miao Guo*, Jerry Heng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Millions of tonnes of silicon are produced each year as part of a global supply chain supporting the manufacture of steel, automobiles, electronics and silicones. However, the supply chain does have its challenges – particularly the high energy intensity of silicon purification methods, and the lack of global supply chain diversity. Consequently, this study investigates the benefit of producing high purity silicon metals (>98 wt% Si) from agricultural biomass wastes from an environmental perspective using Life Cycle Assessment methodology. Taking rice husk as a case study, findings show a reduction in carbon emissions is achievable for co-recovery of silicon with bio-energy. The robustness of these findings is also addressed through uncertainty modelling, which provides further confidence in the major findings. Future agricultural sources of biomass-derived silicon have also been projected for staple crops including corn, sugarcane and wheat.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication33rd European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780443152740
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2023

Publication series

NameComputer Aided Chemical Engineering
ISSN (Print)1570-7946


  • global warming potential
  • life cycle assessment
  • rice husk
  • silicon
  • uncertainty


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