Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological Engineering (MS)

Degree Level



Biological and Agricultural Engineering


Dongyi Wang

Committee Member

Ebenezer M Kwofie

Second Committee Member

Ali Ubeyitogullari


Life Cycle Performance Assessment;Rice circularity;Rice husks;Sustainability;Techno-economic Assessment;Value-added products


The non-energy circular bioeconomy potential of rice husks was examined via sustainability assessments, namely life cycle assessment (LCA), life cycle impact cost assessment (LCICA), and techno-economic assessment (TEA). The study was conducted with three objectives. The first objective was to review previous studies on the non-energy utilization potential of rice husks by the method of meta-analysis. This review followed a systematic approach where research papers were collected following a defined set of criteria. The study revealed 16 key utilization pathways, all of which showed promising results. However, a comprehensive sustainability assessment was lacking in all of the pathways. The second objective was to examine the circular bioeconomy potential of rice husks as a resource for bioplastic production. This study evaluated the techno-environmental assessment of three bioplastics, namely carboxymethyl cellulose, cellulose acetate, and cellulose nitrate relative to rice husks combustion. This provided information on the environmental impacts and the environmental impact costs of all three bioplastics. The result suggested that carboxymethylcellulose would be the most sustainable pathway, reducing the impact on human health and the cost of open-air combustion by 82% and 74%, respectively. The third objective was to examine the sustainable production of xylo-oligosaccharide from rice husk via a techno-economic and an environmental performance assessment. The study examined two production methods: autohydrolysis and enzymatic hydrolysis, considering a pilot and a large production scale for each. The results revealed that autohydrolysis is the best method to produce xylo-oligosaccharides, considering the damage to the environment and human health, and profitability (net profits of $ 7.1M and $ 42.4M for pilot and large-scale setups) hence, it is viable to thrive in the market.