Richard Murphy

Professor Richard Murphy

Professor of Life Cycle Assessment and Director of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability
+44 (0)1483 686680
18 BA 02



Richard Murphy joined the Centre for Environment and Sustainability as Professor of Life Cycle Assessment in February 2013.

He has a background in biological sciences with a BSc in Botany with Zoology from King's College London and a PhD in Pure & Applied Biology from Imperial College London. Richard has undertaken Post-Doctoral work in New Zealand and The Netherlands and, prior to joining CES, was a Reader in Plant Sciences at Imperial College London.

Richard is a past President of the Institute of Wood Science (now part of the Institute of Materials) and is a member of DEFRA's Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee, BRE's Advisory Panel and BSI committees. He is a founder and Director of LCAworks Ltd and was Chief Scientific Officer of Mycologix Ltd. He has advised the UK Climate Change Committee on LCA for bioenergy systems.

Richard received a Rector's Award for Excellence in Teaching at Imperial College London in 2011.

Research interests

Richard's research focuses on 2 main areas 1) Use of plant-based materials for bioenergy and biomaterials (including construction and packaging uses) and 2) Use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) since 1992 to incorporate environmental and sustainability analysis in our scientific research on bio-materials, bioenergy and bio-fuel products.In the first area, his group's research is concerned with the pretreament and enzymatic conversion of plant material (particularly lignocellulosics) into biofuels, the microbial decomposition of bio-based materials (e.g. bio-packaging, timber) by aerobic composting and by anaerobic digestion (AD) systems, the structure and organisation of plant cell wall materials (wood, bamboo, coir, hemp), the physiology/ecology of wood decay fungi and wood protection using biocides and other means. Specific IP related to biofuels production was commercialised through a spin-out company Mycologix Ltd.In the second area, academically-focussed LCA and related sustainability assessments such as Techno-Economic Assessment and Social LCA, increasingly integrated through Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) approaches, are a significant aspect of my group's research.These are conducted jointly with colleagues in CES and the Porter Alliance and Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College amongst others. Richard also contributes to commercially-facing LCA and related work through LCAworks Ltd. Overall, Richard has undertaken LCA work for the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC), the Building Research Establishment (BRE) UK and for various international companies, including BT, Coca Cola and Braskem. Richard has acted as an independent Chairperson and as a member of LCA Critical Review Panels to ISO 14040/44 for a variety of studies.

Departmental duties

Director of CES


Media Contacts

Contact the press team


Phone: +44 (0)1483 684380 / 688914 / 684378
Out-of-hours: +44 (0)7773 479911
Senate House, University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

My publications


Wang L, Littlewood J, Murphy RJ (2014) An economic and environmental evaluation for bamboo-derived bioethanol, RSC Adv. 4 pp. 29604-29611-29604-29611 The Royal Society of Chemistry
The potential to obtain bioethanol from bamboo using three different pretreatment technologies (liquid hot water (LHW), dilute acid (DA) and soaking in aqueous ammonia (SAA)) is assessed via techno-economic and environmental analyses. The minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) is used to compare the economic potential of the pretreatment processes, and these are 0.554, 0.484 and 1.014 $ per litre for DA, LHW and SAA pretreatments, respectively. The bioethanol pump price under current and future policy scenarios in China is compared with petrol and reveals that bioethanol produced via DA and LHW pretreatments could be economically competitive even without government support. From an environmental perspective, a life cycle assessment approach is used to evaluate bamboo-derived bioethanol for full environmental impact categories, and this is compared with petrol on a ?well-to-wheel? basis. It was found that all three bioethanol pathways would be environmentally better than petrol with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced by 45-93%. A comparison of bamboo-based bioethanol with other cellulosic feedstocks not only suggests that bamboo could be a viable and competitive feedstock for bioethanol production, but also demonstrates that amongst the pretreatment technologies tested, LHW has the most potential for achieving favourable economic and environmental outcomes.
Gritsch C, Murphy R (2005) Ultrastructure of fibre and parenchyma cell walls during early stages of culm development in Dendrocalamus asper., Ann Bot 95 (4) pp. 619-629
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The anatomy of bamboo culms and the multilayered structure of fibre cell walls are known to be the main determinant factors for its physical and mechanical properties. Studies on the bamboo cell wall have focussed mainly on fully elongated and mature fibres. The main aim of this study was to describe the ultrastructure of primary and secondary cell walls in culm tissues of Dendrocalamus asper at different stages of development. METHODS: The development of fibre and parenchyma tissues was classified into four stages based on light microscopy observations made in tissues from juvenile plants. The stages were used as a basis for transmission electron microscopy study on the ultrastructure of the cell wall during the process of primary and early secondary cell wall formation. Macerations and phloroglucinol-HCl staining were employed to investigate fibre cell elongation and fibre cell wall lignification, respectively. KEY RESULTS: The observations indicated that the primary wall is formed by the deposition of two distinct layers during the elongation of the internode and that secondary wall synthesis may begin before the complete cessation of internode and fibre elongation. Elongation was followed by a maturation phase characterized by the deposition of multiple secondary wall layers, which varied in number according to the cell type, location in the culm tissue and stage of shoot development. Lignification of fibre cell walls started at the period prior to the cessation of internode elongation. CONCLUSIONS: The structure of the primary cell wall was comprised of two layers. The fibre secondary cell wall began to be laid down while the cells were still undergoing some elongation, suggesting that it may act to cause the slow-down and eventual cessation of cell elongation.
Barnes HM, Murphy RJ (2005) Bending and tensile properties of vapor boron-treated composites, Wood and Fiber Science 37 (3) pp. 379-383
North American composites, including laminated veneer lumber, oriented strandboard, and medium density fiberboard, were treated by vapor boron technology and subsequently tested in static bending. Tensile properties were also determined for the two composite board products. The study was designed as a 2 × 3 factorial with two mill locations and three treatment levels for each composite type. In general, mill location significantly affected most property values, while treatment level caused only significant reductions at the highest treatment level. The significance of mill location was attributed mainly to species differences since species varied between locations for each composite type. © 2005 by the Society of Wood Science and Technology.
Woods J, Williams A, Hughes JK, Black M, Murphy R (2010) Energy and the food system, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365 (1554) pp. 2991-3006
Modern agriculture is heavily dependent on fossil resources. Both direct energy use for crop management and indirect energy use for fertilizers, pesticides and machinery production have contributed to the major increases in food production seen since the 1960s. However, the relationship between energy inputs and yields is not linear. Low-energy inputs can lead to lower yields and perversely to higher energy demands per tonne of harvested product. At the other extreme, increasing energy inputs can lead to ever-smaller yield gains. Although fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy for agriculture, the mix of fuels used differs owing to the different fertilization and cultivation requirements of individual crops. Nitrogen fertilizer production uses large amounts of natural gas and some coal, and can account for more than 50 per cent of total energy use in commercial agriculture. Oil accounts for between 30 and 75 per cent of energy inputs of UK agriculture, depending on the cropping system. While agriculture remains dependent on fossil sources of energy, food prices will couple to fossil energy prices and food production will remain a significant contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Technological developments, changes in crop management, and renewable energy will all play important roles in increasing the energy efficiency of agriculture and reducing its reliance of fossil resources. © 2010 The Royal Society.
Turner P, Murphy RJ (1995) Treatment of timber products with gaseous borate esters - Part 1. Factors influencing the treatment process, Wood Science and Technology 29 (5) pp. 385-395
Several factors which influence the treatment of timber products with vapour phase preservatives such as borate esters are considered. Gas flow rate through the substrate was found to be a significant factor limiting both preservative penetration and its rate of deposition. A theoretical model of the treatment process was developed and tested experimentally to determine the influence of several factors on the retention and distribution of boric acid. Gas flow into the timber product was influenced by permeability, pressure gradient and substrate moisture content. The implications of the findings are considered with regard to the treatment of wood and wood products with gaseous reagents. © 1995 Springer-Verlag.
Zamboni A, Murphy RJ, Woods J, Bezzo F, Shah N (2011) Biofuels carbon footprints: Whole-systems optimisation for GHG emissions reduction, BIORESOURCE TECHNOLOGY 102 (16) pp. 7457-7465 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Guo M, Stuckey DC, Murphy RJ (2013) End-of-life of starch-polyvinyl alcohol biopolymers., Bioresour Technol 127 pp. 256-266
This study presents a life cycle assessment (LCA) model comparing the waste management options for starch-polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) biopolymers including landfill, anaerobic digestion (AD), industrial composting and home composting. The ranking of biological treatment routes for starch-PVOH biopolymer wastes depended on their chemical compositions. AD represents the optimum choice for starch-PVOH biopolymer containing N and S elements in global warming potential (GWP(100)), acidification and eutrophication but not on the remaining impact categories, where home composting was shown to be a better option due to its low energy and resource inputs. For those starch-PVOH biopolymers with zero N and S contents home composting delivered the best environmental performance amongst biological treatment routes in most impact categories (except for GWP(100)). The landfill scenario performed generally well due largely to the 100-year time horizon and efficient energy recovery system modeled but this good performance is highly sensitive to assumptions adopted in landfill model.
Guo M, Li C, Bell JNB, Murphy RJ (2012) Influence of agro-ecosystem modeling approach on the greenhouse gas profiles of wheat-derived biopolymer products, Environmental Science and Technology 46 (1) pp. 320-330
An approach is presented to include a wider range of factors involved in the nitrogen and carbon cycles in agro-ecosystems than is typical of many Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of agriculture-based products. This use results from the process-oriented Denitrification-Decomposition (DNDC, modified version) model. Here we evaluate the effects of using site-specific N 2O emissions derived from the DNDC model rather than the values derived from the commonly used Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier 1 empirical model on the results of whole life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) profiles for wheat-based biopolymer products. Statistical methods were also used to analyze the quality of the DNDC and IPCC outputs and to characterize the uncertainty in the GHG results. The results confirm that the GHG profiles of the wheat-derived biopolymer products are sensitive to how the agricultural system is modeled and uncertainty analyses indicate that DNDC is preferred over the IPCC Tier 1 approach for site-specific LCAs. The former allows inclusion of a wider range of important site-specific agricultural parameters in the LCA, provides for improved quality in the LCA data, and permits better calibration of uncertainty in the LCA inventory. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
Littlewood J, Guo M, Boerjan W, Murphy RJ (2014) Bioethanol from poplar: a commercially viable alternative to fossil fuel in the European Union, BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIOFUELS 7 ARTN 113 BIOMED CENTRAL LTD
Hingston JA, Moore J, Bacon A, Lester JN, Murphy RJ, Collins CD (2002) The importance of the short-term leaching dynamics of wood preservatives., Chemosphere 47 (5) pp. 517-523
The potential environmental impacts from the use of treated timber in aquatic areas is under scrutiny as a result of environmental legislation and reports of the deleterious environmental effects around treated structures. In this study leaching experiments of up to 3 weeks duration were conducted on two species of chromated copper arsenate treated timber, dried for different periods of time. Increased drying time significantly reduced leaching of Cr and As. The addition of a synthetic humic acid increased leaching of Cu and As, but reduced leaching of Cr. Putative risk assessments conducted using short-term copper leaching data suggested protocol design may influence decisions made regarding the environmental acceptability of such preservatives.
Gonzalez-Garcia S, Bacenetti J, Murphy RJ, Fiala M (2012) Present and future environmental impact of poplar cultivation in the Po Valley (Italy) under different crop management systems, JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION 26 pp. 56-66 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Brereton N, Pitre F, Hanley S, Ray M, Karp A, Murphy R (2010) QTL Mapping of Enzymatic Saccharification in Short Rotation Coppice Willow and Its Independence from Biomass Yield, BIOENERGY RESEARCH 3 (3) pp. 251-261 SPRINGER
Wang L, Sharifzadeh M, Templer R, Murphy RJ (2013) Bioethanol production from various waste papers: Economic feasibility and sensitivity analysis, Applied Energy 111 pp. 1172-1182
As a significant fraction of municipal solid waste, waste paper is a potential source for producing bioethanol. In the present paper, bioethanol production from various waste papers (newspaper, office paper, cardboard and magazine) using an enzyme complex (Cellic Ctec 1) was evaluated from an economic standpoint. Four bases cases without pre-treatment and two state-of-the-art cases (including dilute acid pre-treatment for office paper and oxidative lime pre-treatment for newspaper) were constructed using laboratory experimental data, literature values, expert consultations and simulation using AspenPlus". Several scenarios were also carried out to assess the sensitivity of various technology parameters (i.e. solids loading in saccharification, anaerobic digestion and fermentation efficiency, and sugar yields in pre-treatment). The sensitivity analysis suggested that the economic performance of bioethanol produced from waste paper could be improved significantly with an up to 25% reduction in minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) by increasing solids loading in saccharification and with a 6% reduction in MESP by enhancing fermentation efficiency. The comparison of the bioethanol selling price at pump (reference year 2009) and the petrol price showed bioethanol produced from newspaper, office paper and cardboard were economically competitive with petrol. © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Wang L, Littlewood J, Murphy RJ (2013) Environmental sustainability of bioethanol production from wheat straw in the UK, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 28 pp. 715-725
A UK-based environmental sustainability study on bioethanol production from wheat straw was conducted using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. Five pathways with leading pretreatment technologies (dilute acid, steam explosion with and without catalyst, liquid hot water, and wet oxidation) were modelled using process simulation software AspenPlus", and their advantages and disadvantages were evaluated from an environmental perspective. In a contribution analysis of the environmental profiles for the near-term prospective scenarios, results indicated that the enzyme is a main contributor in all pathways. In addition to enzyme production, acid catalyst and base for its subsequent neutralisation also cause significant environmental burdens for dilute acid and steam explosion with catalyst pathways. By comparing the five wheat straw production pathways with petrol, it was suggested that those using pretreatment with steam explosion, liquid hot water and wet oxidation can be environmentally favourable over petrol. However, a sensitivity analysis conducted by expanding the ethanol system boundary to include the consequential effects of removing wheat straw from the field, suggested an increase in the overall environmental burdens of ethanol life cycles but certain wheat straw ethanol pathway (i.e. with steam explosion pretreatment) still remain environmentally favourable over petrol. © 2013 The Authors.
Petric M, Murphy RJ, Morris I (2000) Microdistribution of some copper and zinc containing waterborne and organic solvent wood preservatives in spruce wood cell walls, HOLZFORSCHUNG 54 (1) pp. 23-26 WALTER DE GRUYTER & CO
Hughes A, Murphy R, GIibson J, Cornfield J (1994) Electron-paramagnetic-resonance (EPR) spectroscopic analysis of copper-based preservatives in Pinus-sylvestris, Holzforschung 48 (2) pp. 91-98 WALTER DE GRUYTER & CO
Turner P, Murphy RJ (1998) Treatment of timber products with gaseous borate esters: Part 2. Process improvement, Wood Science and Technology 32 (1) pp. 25-31
This paper forms a continuation of the work on treatment of timber products with gaseous borate esters. Turner and Murphy (1995) in an earlier paper indicated that gas flow rate into the wood substrate was the principle factor limiting the rate of boric acid retention and the depth of penetration into wood products. The current paper considers the impact of this factor on treatment efficacy and considers experimental work designed to evaluate qualitatively, the impact of proposed modifications to the process. Significant improvements in treatment performance were observed.
Murphy RJ, Dickinson DJ (1997) Wood preservation research - What have we learnt and where are we going?, Journal of the Institute of Wood Science 14 (3) pp. 147-153
The role of research in the development of wood preservation over the last 150 years is reviewed with particular emphasis on the last two decades. The authors present a personal view of historical developments which have been particularly influential and highlight current trends such as fixed waterborne preservatives, vapour phase treatments, definition of decay hazard classes and environmental impact assessments. These are considered with reference to the structure of the International Research Group on Wood Preservation (IRG) which was founded in 1969 and has now grown into an international research community of over 300 members from 52 countries. The authors highlight three factors, 'environmental' influences, harmonisation of standards (particularly in the EU) and economic factors, which have exerted an intense pressure on both research and on product development in recent years.
Wang L, Templer R, Murphy RJ (2012) High-solids loading enzymatic hydrolysis of waste papers for biofuel production, APPLIED ENERGY 99 pp. 23-31 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Gonzalez-Garcia S, Mola-Yudego B, Murphy RJ (2013) Life cycle assessment of potential energy uses for short rotation willow biomass in Sweden, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT 18 (4) pp. 783-795 SPRINGER HEIDELBERG
Brandt A, Hallett JP, Leak DJ, Murphy RJ, Welton T (2010) The effect of the ionic liquid anion in the pretreatment of pine wood chips, GREEN CHEMISTRY 12 (4) pp. 672-679 ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY
Murphy R, Woods J, Black M, McManus M (2011) Global developments in the competition for land from biofuels, FOOD POLICY 36 pp. S52-S61 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Gonzalez-Garcia S, Mola-Yudego B, Dimitriou I, Aronsson P, Murphy R (2012) Environmental assessment of energy production based on long term commercial willow plantations in Sweden, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT 421 pp. 210-219 ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Vesentini D, Dickinson DJ, Murphy RJ (2006) Analysis of the hyphal load during early stages of wood decay by basidiomycetes in the presence of the wood preservative fungicides CuSO4 and cyproconazole, HOLZFORSCHUNG 60 (6) pp. 637-642 WALTER DE GRUYTER & CO
González-García S, Moreira MT, Feijoo G, Murphy RJ (2012) Comparative life cycle assessment of ethanol production from fast-growing wood crops (black locust, eucalyptus and poplar), Biomass and Bioenergy 39 pp. 378-388
A life cycle assessment (LCA) study was carried out to evaluate the environmental implications of the production and use of ethanol from three fast-growing wood crops: eucalyptus, black locust and poplar in flexi-fuel vehicles. The production of a blend rich in ethanol: E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline by volume) was assessed and the results compared with those of conventional gasoline (CG) in an equivalent car. The following environmental categories were evaluated: fossil fuels use (FF), global warming potential over 100 years (GWP 100), photochemical oxidant creation potential (POCP), acidification potential (AP) and eutrophication potential (EP).The use of ethanol derived from black locust was found to be the option with the lowest impact in most categories with reductions of 97%, 42%, 41% and 76% for GWP 100, AP, EP and FF respectively in comparison with CG.Concerning the production stage of ethanol (excluding the stages of blending and use), black locust has the lowest environmental impacts due to the low levels of agricultural inputs during its cultivation. The poplar scenario has higher impacts in AP and EP due to the emission of diffuse substances from fertilizer application and the eucalyptus scenario in GWP 100, POCP and FF due to the use and requirements of heavy machinery during harvesting.The use of the LCA methodology has helped to identify the key areas in the life cycle of ethanol. Special attention should be paid to ethanol production related activities and forest activities oriented to the feedstock production. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Curling SF, Murphy RJ (1999) The effect of artificial ageing on the durability of wood-based board materials against basidiomycete decay fungi, Wood Science and Technology 33 (4) pp. 245-257
Vesentini D, Dickinson DJ, Murphy RJ (2005) The production of extracellular mucilaginous material (ECMM) in two wood-rotting basidiomycetes is affected by growth conditions., Mycologia 97 (6) pp. 1163-1170
The ability of two wood-decay basidiomycetes to produce extracellular mucilaginous material (ECMM) and its relationship with total biomass production has been investigated. Growth and ECMM production by the white-rot fungus Coriolus versicolor and the brown-rot fungus Gloeophyllum trabeum were assessed in liquid culture under different nutritional and environmental conditions. Nutritional, pH and temperature factors all influenced significantly the proportion of ECMM in the total biomass produced. When total biomass production was reduced due to unfavorable growth conditions (stress), the proportion of ECMM in the biomass was elevated. The results are discussed with regard to the possible role(s) of ECMM in the responses of these fungi to stress.
Barnes HM, Murphy RJ (2006) Effect of vapor boron treatment on some properties of wood strand and fiber composites, Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing 37 (9) pp. 1402-1405
This paper discusses the results of water absorption, thickness swelling, and internal bond tests of commercial North American wood strand and fiber composites treated using a vapor boron treatment process. For oriented strandboard (OSB), high boron loadings led to lower internal bond strength and lower thickness swelling. Water absorption results were variable but no deleterious effect of treatment was noted. For medium density fiberboard (MDF), the highest loadings led to reduced internal bond strength. Thickness swelling decreased with increasing boron level, but not significantly. As with OSB, water absorption results varied. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Hingston JA, Murphy RJ, Lester JN (2006) Monitoring losses of copper based wood preservatives in the Thames estuary, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION 143 (2) pp. 367-375 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Murphy R, Levy J (1983) Production of copper oxalate by some copper tolerate fungi, Transactions of the British Mycological Society 81 (AUG) pp. 165-168 CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
Brereton NJ, Ray MJ, Shield I, Martin P, Karp A, Murphy RJ (2012) Reaction wood - a key cause of variation in cell wall recalcitrance in willow., Biotechnol Biofuels 5 (1)
UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND: The recalcitrance of lignocellulosic cell wall biomass to deconstruction varies greatly in angiosperms, yet the source of this variation remains unclear. Here, in eight genotypes of short rotation coppice willow (Salix sp.) variability of the reaction wood (RW) response and the impact of this variation on cell wall recalcitrance to enzymatic saccharification was considered. RESULTS: A pot trial was designed to test if the 'RW response' varies between willow genotypes and contributes to the differences observed in cell wall recalcitrance to enzymatic saccharification in field-grown trees. Biomass composition was measured via wet chemistry and used with glucose release yields from enzymatic saccharification to determine cell wall recalcitrance. The levels of glucose release found for pot-grown control trees showed no significant correlation with glucose release from mature field-grown trees. However, when a RW phenotype was induced in pot-grown trees, glucose release was strongly correlated with that for mature field-grown trees. Field studies revealed a 5-fold increase in glucose release from a genotype grown at a site exposed to high wind speeds (a potentially high RW inducing environment) when compared with the same genotype grown at a more sheltered site. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide evidence for a new concept concerning variation in the recalcitrance to enzymatic hydrolysis of the stem biomass of different, field-grown willow genotypes (and potentially other angiosperms). Specifically, that genotypic differences in the ability to produce a response to RW inducing conditions (a 'RW response') indicate that this RW response is a primary determinant of the variation observed in cell wall glucan accessibility. The identification of the importance of this RW response trait in willows, is likely to be valuable in selective breeding strategies in willow (and other angiosperm) biofuel crops and, with further work to dissect the nature of RW variation, could provide novel targets for genetic modification for improved biofuel feedstocks.
Brandt A, Erickson JK, Hallett JP, Murphy RJ, Potthast A, Ray MJ, Rosenau T, Schrems M, Welton T (2012) Soaking of pine wood chips with ionic liquids for reduced energy input during grinding, GREEN CHEMISTRY 14 (4) pp. 1079-1085 ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY
Gonzalez-Garcia S, Iribarren D, Susmozas A, Dufour J, Murphy RJ (2012) Life cycle assessment of two alternative bioenergy systems involving Salix spp. biomass: Bioethanol production and power generation, APPLIED ENERGY 95 pp. 111-122 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Guo M, Stuckey DC, Murphy RJ (2013) Is it possible to develop biopolymer production systems independent of fossil fuels? Case study in energy profiling of polyhydroxybutyrate-valerate (PHBV), GREEN CHEMISTRY 15 (3) pp. 706-717 ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY
Brandt A, Ray MJ, To TQ, Leak DJ, Murphy RJ, Welton T (2011) Ionic liquid pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass with ionic liquid-water mixtures, GREEN CHEMISTRY 13 (9) pp. 2489-2499 ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY
Wang L, Templer R, Murphy RJ (2012) Environmental sustainability of bioethanol production from waste papers: Sensitivity to the system boundary, Energy and Environmental Science 5 (8) pp. 8281-8293
The production of bioethanol from various waste papers (newspaper, office paper, magazine and cardboard) was evaluated from an environmental standpoint. 'Cradle-to-grave' (or 'well-to-wheel') analyses were performed using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach with the aims of identifying the key drivers of environmental impact in the bioethanol supply chains and of comparing the environmental footprints of various bioethanol supply chains with those of conventional petrol. Base cases (bioethanol production from various waste papers) and two state-of-the-art cases including pre-treatment of office paper by dilute acid (DA) and of newspaper by an oxidative lime (OL) process were constructed using laboratory data, expert consultations, literature values, and simulation in AspenPlus" software. Contribution analysis showed enzyme production needed for hydrolysis of the papers to be the main contributor to the environmental profiles for bioethanol in the base cases. The production of process heat and hydrochloric acid respectively were the main contributors to the bioethanol environmental profiles for office paper-to-bioethanol with DA pre-treatment and newspaper-to-bioethanol with OL pre-treatment. Overall, bioethanol produced from newspaper, magazine paper and cardboard was found to have a lower environmental impact than the conventional transport fuel petrol. However, this conclusion is significantly affected by the system boundaries used for the analysis. When an expanded system boundary is applied to consider virgin and recycled paper production as the potential consequential effects within the bioethanol and petrol systems respectively, office paper-derived bioethanol systems emerge as the most environmentally favourable over petrol. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2012.
Abu Ali R, Murphy RJ, Dickinson DJ (1999) Investigation of the extracellular mucilaginous materials produced by some wood decay fungi, MYCOLOGICAL RESEARCH 103 pp. 1453-1461 CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
Collins CD, Baddeley M, Murphy R, Owens S, Rocks S (2016) Considering evidence: The approach taken by the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee in the UK, Environment International Elsevier
The Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee (HSAC) provides expert advice to UK officials, Ministers and other relevant bodies on the protection of the environment, and human health via the environment, from potentially hazardous substances and articles. Hazardous substances are often the subject of controversy, on which individuals, and different groups in society, hold divergent views. This paper details the approach taken by HSAC when considering the evidence to provide advice on hazardous substances. Firstly HSAC reviews the range of evidence and determines its quality considering: transparency of aims, the methodology and results, completeness, independent review and accessibility. HSAC does not follow one explicit methodology as the wide range of hazardous substances we consider means they need to be addressed on a case by case basis. Most notably HSAC considers the evidence in the wider context, being aware of factors that influence individuals in their decision making when receiving a HSAC opinion e.g. trust in the source of the evidence, defensibility, conformity to a ?world view? and framing. HSACs also reflect on its own perspectives with the aim of addressing bias by the diversity of its membership. The Committee's intention, in adopting this rounded approach, is to reach opinions that are robust, relevant and defensible.
Brereton NJB, Pitre FE, Shield I, Hanley SJ, Ray MJ, Murphy RJ, Karp A (2013) Insights into nitrogen allocation and recycling from nitrogen elemental analysis and 15N isotope labelling in 14 genotypes of willow, Tree Physiology
Minimizing nitrogen (N) fertilization inputs during cultivation is essential for sustainable production of bioenergy and biofuels. The biomass crop willow (Salix spp.) is considered to have low N fertilizer requirements due to efficient recycling of nutrients during the perennial cycle. To investigate how successfully different willow genotypes assimilate and allocate N during growth, and remobilize and consequently recycle N before the onset of winter dormancy, N allocation and N remobilization (to and between different organs) were examined in 14 genotypes of a genetic family using elemental analysis and 15N as a label. Cuttings were established in pots in April and sampled in June, August and at onset of senescence in October. Biomass yield of the trees correlated well with yields recorded in the field. Genotype-specific variation was observed for all traits measured and general trends spanning these sampling points were identified when trees were grouped by biomass yield. Nitrogen reserves in the cutting fuelled the entirety of the canopy establishment, yet earlier cessation of this dependency was linked to higher biomass yields. The stem was found to be the major N reserve by autumn, which constitutes a major source of N loss at harvest, typically every 2?3 years. These data contribute to understanding N remobilization in short rotation coppice willow and to the identification of traits that could potentially be selected for in breeding programmes to further improve the sustainability of biomass production.
Brereton NJ, Pitre FE, Ray MJ, Karp A, Murphy RJ (2011) Investigation of tension wood formation and 2,6-dichlorbenzonitrile application in short rotation coppice willow composition and enzymatic saccharification., Biotechnol Biofuels 4
BACKGROUND: Short rotation coppice willow is a potential lignocellulosic feedstock in the United Kingdom and elsewhere; however, research on optimising willow specifically for bioethanol production has started developing only recently. We have used the feedstock Salix viminalis × Salix schwerinii cultivar 'Olof' in a three-month pot experiment with the aim of modifying cell wall composition and structure within the stem to the benefit of bioethanol production. Trees were treated for 26 or 43 days with tension wood induction and/or with an application of the cellulose synthesis inhibitor 2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile that is specific to secondary cell walls. Reaction wood (tension and opposite wood) was isolated from material that had received the 43-day tension wood induction treatment. RESULTS: Glucan content, lignin content and enzymatically released glucose were assayed. All measured parameters were altered without loss of total stem biomass yield, indicating that enzymatic saccharification yield can be enhanced by both alterations to cell wall structure and alterations to absolute contents of either glucan or lignin. CONCLUSIONS: Final glucose yields can be improved by the induction of tension wood without a detrimental impact on biomass yield. The increase in glucan accessibility to cell wall degrading enzymes could help contribute to reducing the energy and environmental impacts of the lignocellulosic bioethanol production process.
Abood F, Murphy RJ (2006) World distribution of minthea rugicollis (coleoptera: Lyctidae), Journal of Tropical Forest Science 18 (4) pp. 250-254
The distribution of Minthea rugicollis worldwide is presented based on a compilation of literature records of population establishments and also from the world collection of M. rugicollis at the Natural History Museum, London. The distribution map derived indicates the limits of distribution for M. rugicollis to be 40° north and south of the Equator, with maximum distribution within 20° north and south. The present compiled records of occurrence of established populations as well as reports on repeated accidental introductions strongly suggest. M. rugicollis is not capable of establishing populations under outdoor temperate conditions.
Gritsch CS, Kleist G, Murphy RJ (2004) Developmental changes in cell wall structure of phloem fibres of the bamboo Dendrocalamus asper., Ann Bot 94 (4) pp. 497-505
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Bamboo culms have excellent physical and mechanical properties, which mainly depend on their fibre content and anatomical structure. One of the features which is known to contribute to the high tensile strength in bamboo is the multilayered structure of the fibre cell wall. The aim of this study was to characterize the development of the layered structure in fibre cell walls of developing and maturing culms of Dendrocalamus asper. METHODS: Cell wall development patterns were investigated in phloem fibre caps of vascular bundles in the inner culm wall areas of Dendrocalamus asper of three different age classes (
Wang L, Templer R, Murphy RJ (2012) A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) comparison of three management options for waste papers: bioethanol production, recycling and incineration with energy recovery., Bioresour Technol 120 pp. 89-98
This study uses Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to assess the environmental profiles and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for bioethanol production from waste papers and to compare them with the alternative waste management options of recycling or incineration with energy recovery. Bioethanol production scenarios both with and without pre-treatments were conducted. It was found that an oxidative lime pre-treatment reduced GHG emissions and overall environmental burdens for a newspaper-to-bioethanol process whereas a dilute acid pre-treatment raised GHG emissions and overall environmental impacts for an office paper-to-bioethanol process. In the comparison of bioethanol production systems with alternative management of waste papers by different technologies, it was found that the environmental profiles of each system vary significantly and this variation affects the outcomes of the specific comparisons made. Overall, a number of configurations of bioethanol production from waste papers offer environmentally favourable or neutral profiles when compared with recycling or incineration.
Hingston JA, Moore J, Murphy RJ, Lester JN, Collins CD (2003) Speciation of Cr and As leachates from CCA treated wood by differential pulse polarography, HOLZFORSCHUNG 57 (6) pp. 597-601 WALTER DE GRUYTER & CO
Gritsch C, Murphy R (2005) Ultrastructure of fibre and parenchyma cell walls during early stages of culm development in Dendrocalamus asper, ANNALS OF BOTANY 95 (4) pp. 619-629 OXFORD UNIV PRESS
Ray MJ, Leak DJ, Spanu PD, Murphy RJ (2010) Brown rot fungal early stage decay mechanism as a biological pretreatment for softwood biomass in biofuel production, Biomass and Bioenergy 34 (8) pp. 1257-1262
A current barrier to the large-scale production of lignocellulosic biofuels is the cost associated with the energy and chemical inputs required for feedstock pretreatment and hydrolysis. The use of controlled partial biological degradation to replace elements of the current pretreatment technologies would offer tangible energy and cost benefits to the whole biofuel process. It has been known for some time from studies of wood decay that, in the early stages of growth in wood, brown rot fungi utilise a mechanism that causes rapid and extensive depolymerisation of the carbohydrate polymers of the wood cell wall. The brown rot hyphae act as delivery vectors to the plant cell wall for what is thought to be a combination of a localised acid pretreatment and a hydroxyl radical based depolymerisation of the cell wall carbohydrate polymers. It is this quality that we have exploited in the present work to enhance the saccharification potential of softwood forest residues for biofuel production. Here we show that after restricted exposure of pine sapwood to brown rot fungi, glucose yields following enzymatic saccharification are significantly increased. Our results demonstrate the potential of using brown rot fungi as a biological pretreatment for biofuel production. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Gonzalez-Garcia S, Garcia Lozano R, Teresa Moreira M, Gabarrell X, Rieradevall i Pons J, Feijoo G, Murphy RJ (2012) Eco-innovation of a wooden childhood furniture set: An example of environmental solutions in the wood sector, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT 426 pp. 318-326 ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Black MJ, Whittaker C, Hosseini SA, Diaz-Chavez R, Woods J, Murphy RJ (2011) Life Cycle Assessment and sustainability methodologies for assessing industrial crops, processes and end products, Industrial Crops and Products
Fernandez EC, Palijon AM, Liese W, Esguerra FL, Murphy RJ (2003) Growth performance of two bamboo species in new plantations, Journal of Bamboo and Rattan 2 (3) pp. 225-239
The growth performance of new stands of Dendrocalamus asper and Gigantochloa levis on marginal lands and fertilized with three organic fertilizers was assessed over a period of 4 years. The experimental site was in the UP Laguna-Quezon Land Grant in Real, Quezon, Philippines. The results have shown a very high survival (100%) rate and comparatively good growth and development of both species. The influence of the organic fertilizers on average number of shoot emergents, number of culms per clump, average height and culm diameter was only significant during the first year of plantation establishment. It is concluded that no statistically significant and consistent improvement in establishment of the clumps or growth and quality of the culms could be assigned to the effects of the organic fertilizers studied over the first four years of plantation establishment at this site.
Black MJ, Whittaker C, Hosseini SA, Diaz-Chavez R, Woods J, Murphy RJ (2011) Life Cycle Assessment and sustainability methodologies for assessing industrial crops, processes and end products, Industrial Crops and Products 34 (2) pp. 1332-1339
Providing food, energy and materials for the rising global population is a challenge which is compounded by increased pressure on natural resources such as land, water and fossil sources of raw materials. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities have increased with industrial development and population expansion, and it is anticipated that resulting climate change might further limit agricultural productivity, through changes to weather patterns and global availability/distribution of agriculturally productive land. Growing crops as feedstocks for industrial uses is seen as one way of reducing GHG emissions and dependency on fossil resources. However, determining the extent to which the development of crops for industrial use will effect GHG balances and provide for a more energy efficient manufacturing system requires the development and use of appropriate calculation methodologies.Research at the Porter Institute has identified over 250 different scenarios for bioenergy production systems using commodity crops. In order to rationalise this complexity and diversity, a modular approach to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and sustainability analysis has been taken. This allows characterisation of discrete sections of supply chains and enables comparisons to be made between different crop production systems, different process systems and different end product uses. The purposes of this paper are to introduce the concepts of biofuel GHG and sustainability metrics, to introduce the approach taken by our organization and to use the example of UK grown willow in a lignocellulosic ethanol production system to demonstrate how GHG emission outcomes can be reviewed for " new" crops and technologies.The results show a range of variation, in both growing and process systems and how outcomes such as energy and GHG balances can be affected by various activities.LCA methodologies provide data to inform governments and industry of the potential specific supply chains may have for energy and GHG saving. However, methodological approaches can also affect assessment outcomes. Unresolved issues in LCA methodology must also be evaluated e.g. impacts resulting from land use change. Sustainability assessments of crop growing systems, irrespective of the end use, also assist in the assessment of environmental impacts of supply chains. However, it is critical that data continue to be collected, analysed and reviewed, to ensure that the most appropriate crops are grown and p
Murphy R, Detzel A, Guo M, Krüger M (2011) Comment on "sustainability metrics: Life cycle assessment and green design in polymers", Environmental Science and Technology 45 (11) pp. 5055-5056
Guo M, Murphy RJ (2012) LCA data quality: Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT 435 pp. 230-243 ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Wang L, Sharifzadeh M, Templer R, Murphy RJ (2012) Technology performance and economic feasibility of bioethanol production from various waste papers, Energy and Environmental Science 5 (2) pp. 5717-5730
Producing bioethanol from various wastes is a promising strategy to meet part of the transport energy demand and also to contribute to waste management. Waste papers (newspaper, office paper, magazines and cardboard in this work) with their 50% to 70% carbohydrate content are potential raw materials for bioethanol production. From both technical and economic aspects, bioethanol production processes for various waste papers were evaluated in this study. High-solids loading (15% w/w) enzymatic hydrolyses using two enzyme alternatives (Celluclast 1.5 L supplemented with Novozyme 188 and Cellic Ctec 1) achieved glucan conversion efficiencies from waste papers of 50% to 76%. Base case process models developed using these experimental data were then applied to an economic analysis to determine the minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) for bioethanol derived from the waste papers using a discounted cash flow method. The effects of several processing parameters: alternative product recovery processes, enzyme loading, enzymatic hydrolysis residence time and two enzyme alternatives on the MESP are explored. Bioethanol produced from cardboard (using Cellic Ctec 1) resulted in the lowest MESP. Two state-of-the-art technologies, dilute acid pre-treatment on office paper and oxidative lime pre-treatment on newspaper, were also investigated. This study suggests that bioethanol production from waste papers is feasible and profitable from both technical and economic points of view. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2012.
Vesentini D, Dickinson DJ, Murphy RJ (2006) Fungicides affect the production of extracellular mucilaginous material (ECMM) and the peripheral growth unit (PGU) in two wood-rotting basidiomycetes., Mycol Res 110 (Pt 10) pp. 1207-1213
This study shows the effect of two fungicides on the production of extracellular mucilaginous material (ECMM) in two wood-rotting basidiomycetes and identifies a mechanism that might be responsible for the variation observed. Increasing concentrations of the fungicides copper sulphate (CuSO4) and cyproconazole in the growth medium increased the proportion of ECMM in the biomass of Trametes versicolor and Gloeophyllum trabeum. These fungicides also caused a reduction in the length of the peripheral growth unit (PGU) of the mycelia leading to a more highly branched morphology and a larger number of hyphal tips, the sites for active secretion of ECMM, per unit length of mycelium. It is postulated that both in T. versicolor and G. trabeum this change in growth leads to the increases observed in the proportion of ECMM in the total biomass. The implications of these results are discussed with a view to a potential protective role of ECMM against stress and toxic environments.
Sulaiman O, Murphy RJ, Hashim R, Sanchis Gritsch C (2005) The inhibition of microbial growth by bamboo vinegar, Journal of Bamboo and Rattan 4 (1) pp. 71-80
The ability of bamboo vinegar, produced from the pyrolysis of Gigantochloa scortechinii Gamble culms from Kedah, Malaysia, to inhibit the growth of micro-organisms was investigated using a laboratory-based assay. The inhibitory effects of cellulose discs treated with bamboo vinegar at 10%, 50% and 100% (no dilution) concentration on the growth of 7 fungal and 3 bacterial species was investigated. The two higher concentrations of bamboo vinegar showed growth-inhibiting effects against Aureobasidium pullulans (MBRB1-3), Chaetomium globosum (FPRL S70K), all three bacterial species and some effect with the other fungal species except Coriolus versicolor (FPRL 28A). The inhibition of growth followed a dose dependent response with the 100% concentration being the most effective. It is concluded that bamboo vinegar contains compounds that are inhibitory to microbial growth although specific evidence for activity at low concentrations, e.g., below 1% total organic compounds, was not obtained. © VSP 2005.
Song JH, Murphy RJ, Narayan R, Davies GBH (2009) Biodegradable and compostable alternatives to conventional plastics, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 364 (1526) pp. 2127-2139
Packaging waste forms a significant part of municipal solid waste and has caused increasing environmental concerns, resulting in a strengthening of various regulations aimed at reducing the amounts generated. Among other materials, a wide range of oil-based polymers is currently used in packaging applications. These are virtually all non-biodegradable, and some are difficult to recycle or reuse due to being complex composites having varying levels of contamination. Recently, significant progress has been made in the development of biodegradable plastics, largely from renewable natural resources, to produce biodegradable materials with similar functionality to that of oil-based polymers. The expansion in these bio-based materials has several potential benefits for greenhouse gas balances and other environmental impacts over whole life cycles and in the use of renewable, rather than finite resources. It is intended that use of biodegradable materials will contribute to sustainability and reduction in the environmental impact associated with disposal of oil-based polymers. The diversity of biodegradable materials and their varying properties makes it difficult to make simple, generic assessments such as biodegradable products are all 'good' or petrochemical-based products are all 'bad'. This paper discusses the potential impacts of biodegradable packaging materials and their waste management, particularly via composting. It presents the key issues that inform judgements of the benefits these materials have in relation to conventional, petrochemical-based counterparts. Specific examples are given from new research on biodegradability in simulated 'home' composting systems. It is the view of the authors that biodegradable packaging materials are most suitable for single-use disposable applications where the post-consumer waste can be locally composted.
Vlasopoulos N, Memon FA, Butler D, Murphy R (2006) Life cycle assessment of wastewater treatment technologies treating petroleum process waters, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT 367 (1) pp. 58-70 ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Whittaker C, Mortimer N, Murphy R, Matthews R (2011) Energy and greenhouse gas balance of the use of forest residues for bioenergy production in the UK, Biomass and Bioenergy 35 (11) pp. 4581-4594
Life cycle analysis is used to assess the energy requirements and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with extracting UK forest harvesting residues for use as a biomass resource. Three forest harvesting residues were examined (whole tree thinnings, roundwood and brash bales), and each have their own energy and emission profile. The whole forest rotation was examined, including original site establishment, forest road construction, biomass harvesting during thinning and final clear-fell events, chipping and transportation. Generally, higher yielding sites give lower GHG emissions per 'oven dried tonne' (ODT) forest residues, but GHG emissions 'per hectare' are higher as more biomass is extracted. Greater quantities of biomass, however, ultimately mean greater displacement of conventional fuels and therefore greater potential for GHG emission mitigation. Although forest road construction and site establishment are " one off" events they are highly energy-intensive operations associated with high diesel fuel consumption, when placed in context with the full forest rotation, however, their relative contributions to the overall energy requirements and GHG emissions are small. The lower bulk density of wood chips means that transportation energy requirements and GHG emissions are higher compared with roundwood logs and brash bales, suggesting that chipping should occur near the end-user of application. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Littlewood J, Wang L, Turnbull C, Murphy RJ (2013) Techno-economic potential of bioethanol from bamboo in China., Biotechnol Biofuels 6 (1)
Bamboo is potentially an interesting feedstock for advanced bioethanol production in China due to its natural abundance, rapid growth, perennial nature and low management requirements. Liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatment was selected as a promising technology to enhance sugar release from bamboo lignocellulose whilst keeping economic and environmental costs to a minimum. The present research was conducted to assess: 1) by how much LHW pretreatment can enhance sugar yields in bamboo, and 2) whether this process has the potential to be economically feasible for biofuel use at the commercial scale. Pretreatments were performed at temperatures of 170-190°C for 10-30 minutes, followed by enzymatic saccharification with a commercial enzyme cocktail at various loadings. These data were then used as inputs to a techno-economic model using AspenPlus" to determine the production cost of bioethanol from bamboo in China.
Ray MJ, Brereton NJB, Shield I, Karp A, Murphy RJ (2012) Variation in Cell Wall Composition and Accessibility in Relation to Biofuel Potential of Short Rotation Coppice Willows, BIOENERGY RESEARCH 5 (3) pp. 685-698 SPRINGER
Hashim R, Sulaiman O, Kumar RN, Tamyez PF, Murphy RJ, Ali Z (2009) Physical and mechanical properties of flame retardant urea formaldehyde medium density fiberboard, JOURNAL OF MATERIALS PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY 209 (2) pp. 635-640 ELSEVIER SCIENCE SA
Hingston JA, Collins CD, Murphy RJ, Lester JN (2001) Leaching of chromated copper arsenate wood preservatives: a review, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION 111 (1) pp. 53-66 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Vesentini D, Dickinson DJ, Murphy RJ (2006) Analysis of the hyphal load during early stages of wood decay by basidiomycetes in the presence of the wood preservative fungicides CuSO 4 and cyproconazole, Holzforschung 60 (6) pp. 637-642
This study considers variations in hyphal load in decaying wood in the presence of the fungicides CuSO4 and cyproconazole. Variations in the chitin content of hyphae following exposure to both fungicides have been detected. Increasing concentrations of CuSO4 and cyproconazole in wood caused an increase in the amount of N-acetyl glucosamine in the mycelia of Coriolus versicolor and Gloeophyllum trabeum, which may be associated with increased deposition of chitin. This may in turn be an expression of the formation of a thicker cell wall at increased fungicide concentrations. Low concentrations of both fungicides also caused an increase in the amount of mycelium produced by G. trabeum. However, the same concentrations were effective at preventing mass loss, indicating that the fungal mycelium was less effective at decaying wood, despite being present in relatively large amounts. In the case of C. versicolor, this effect was not observed, as increasing concentrations of both fungicides caused an initial decrease in the amount of mycelium, followed by a recovery phase at intermediate chemical concentrations. Again, mass loss was greatly inhibited by the presence of low concentrations of both fungicides. © 2006 by Walter de Gruyter 2006.
Brereton NJB, Ahmed F, Sykes D, Ray MJ, Shield I, Karp A, Murphy RJ (2015) X-ray micro-computed tomography in willow
reveals tissue patterning of reaction wood and
delay in programmed cell death,
BMC Plant Biology
Guo M, Littlewood J, Joyce J, Murphy R (2014) The environmental profile of bioethanol produced from current and potential future poplar feedstocks in the EU, Green Chem. pp. --- Royal Society of Chemistry
Although biofuels have the potential for mitigating climate change and enhancing energy security, controversy regarding their overall environmental sustainability is considered a significant bottleneck in their development at both global and EU levels. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was applied to model the current and prospective environmental profiles for poplar-derived bioethanol across various potential EU supply chains (different poplar plantation management, different pretreatment technologies for bioethanol production, five EU locations). LCA modelling indicated that E100 (100% bioethanol) and E85 (85% bioethanol, 15% petrol) fuels derived from Poplar from various locations in the EU had environmental impact scores some 10% to 90% lower than petrol in global warming potential, abiotic depletion potential, ozone depletion potential and photochemical oxidation potential depending upon the exact poplar supply chain and conversion technology modelled. Hybrid poplar clones with higher biomass yields, modified composition and improved cell wall accessibility had a clear potential to deliver a more environmentally sustainable lignocellulosic biorefining industry with environmental scores some 50% lower than with conventional poplar feedstocks. A particular aspect of the present study that warrants further research is the contribution that soil carbon accumulation can make to achieving low-GHG fuels in the future.
Ray M, Kleist G, Murphy R (2005) Decay assessment in a hardwood handrail at the South Bank, London, Journal of the Institute of Wood Science 17 (1) pp. 51-58
A timber handrail made from the hardwood Keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.) and exposed in European Hazard Class 3 on railings at the Southbank, London was investigated to (i) determine the visual damage on the hardwood railing cappings quantitatively and to (ii) identify the causal organisms, and (in) to characterise their decay patterns in the wood. The service life of this handrail of at least 25 years so far shows impressively that Keruing of this quality has exhibited a reasonable resistance to decay for the period. However, the selection of this timber for the construction may not have been ideal due to its large dimensional movement and the effect of this on the aesthetic appearance, in the form of extensive surface cracking, of several of the timber sections, including those rated as free from decay. The two principal decay organisms were identified as the white rot fungus Phellinus contiguus (Fr.) Pat. and the brown rot fungus Dacrymyces stillatus Nees:Fr. Decay patterns observed in the samples of the handrail and in invitro tests demonstrated the ability of P. contiguus and D. stillatus to cause a soft rot -like decay pattern in addition to their typical modes of action, i.e. white and brown rot. These results indicate that "classical" criteria in linking decay features to certain decay types and fungi can be much more complex than expected. Depending on the fungal species, a transition or switch mechanism between brown + soft rot and white + soft rot respectively is probable.
Guo M, Li C, Facciotto G, Bergante S, Bhatia R, Comolli R, Ferre C, Murphy R (2015) Bioethanol from poplar clone Imola: an environmentally viable alternative to fossil fuel?, BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIOFUELS 8 ARTN 134 BIOMED CENTRAL LTD
Littlewood J, Murphy RJ, Wang L (2013) Importance of policy support and feedstock prices on economic feasibility of bioethanol production from wheat straw in the UK, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 17 pp. 291-300
The economic feasibility of producing bioethanol from wheat straw in the UK using various state-of-the-art pretreatment technologies (steam explosion with and without acid catalyst, liquid hot water, dilute acid and wet oxidation) is assessed in this study. Under the current-technology base-case modeled using high enzyme loadings demonstrated at the laboratory-scale, wet oxidation pretreatment had the lowest minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) of £0.347/L ($2.032/gal). A contribution analysis showed feedstock price and enzyme cost were the two greatest contributors to the MESP, which led to a prospective case study and sensitivity analysis for assessing the effects of these two factors on the potential for economically competitive wheat straw-to-bioethanol UK supply chains. Prospective case studies modeled with a reduced enzyme loading and cost, demonstrated that although pretreatment scenarios with liquid hot water and steam explosion without acid catalyst were the closest to petrol pump prices, policy support in the form of tax exemptions could significantly enhance competitiveness of bioethanol with conventional fuel. A sensitivity analysis of feedstock prices also demonstrated that access to wheat straw prices of £35/t or lower would allow bioethanol production to be competitive with petrol under the best case scenario. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Wang Y, Gao Y-X, Song J, Bonin M, Guo M, Murphy R (2010) Assessment of Technical and Environmental Performances of Wheat-Based Foams in Thermal Packaging Applications, PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE 23 (7) pp. 363-382 JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD
Hallac B, Sannigrahi P, Pu Y, Ray M, Murphy R, Ragauskas A (2009) Biomass Characterization of Buddleja davidii: A Potential Feedstock for Biofuel Production, JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD CHEMISTRY 57 (4) pp. 1275-1281 AMER CHEMICAL SOC
Vesentini D, Dickinson DJ, Murphy RJ (2007) The protective role of the extracellular mucilaginous material (ECMM) from two wood-rotting basidiomycetes against copper toxicity, International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 60 (1) pp. 1-7
The extracellular mucilaginous material (ECMM) layer surrounding the hyphae of the white-rot fungus Coriolus versicolor (CTB 863 A) and of the brown-rot fungus Gloeophyllum trabeum (FPRL 108 N) were tested for their ability to protect against the diffusion of Cu2+ ions. Colonies of C. versicolor originating from ECMM-free inocula were affected to a greater extent than those retaining ECMM layers by the presence of up to 2 mM CuSO4 in the growth medium. The growth of G. trabeum seemed to be unaffected by the presence of ECMM surrounding the mycelium. Diffusion studies revealed that raw ECMM of C. versicolor had a greater ability to reduce Cu2+ diffusion than treated ECMM, which were subjected to dialysis to remove low-molecular-weight compounds. For both species, a water-soluble and a water-insoluble fraction of ECMM were isolated. The latter was the most effective at reducing the diffusion of Cu2+ ions. In C. versicolor, insoluble ECMM maintained its ability to limit Cu2+ diffusion even after dialysis. The different effect of ECMM on growth, as observed between the two species may be due to variation in the ECMM composition and arrangement around the hypha. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Guo M, Murphy RJ (2012) Is There a Generic Environmental Advantage for Starch-PVOH Biopolymers Over Petrochemical Polymers?, JOURNAL OF POLYMERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT 20 (4) pp. 976-990 SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS
Guo M, Trzcinski AP, Stuckey DC, Murphy RJ (2011) Anaerobic digestion of starch-polyvinyl alcohol biopolymer packaging: biodegradability and environmental impact assessment., Bioresour Technol 102 (24) pp. 11137-11146
The digestibility of a starch-polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) biopolymer insulated cardboard coolbox was investigated under a defined anaerobic digestion (AD) system with key parameters characterized. Laboratory results were combined with industrial operational data to develop a site-specific life cycle assessment (LCA) model. Inoculated with active bacterial trophic groups, the anaerobic biodegradability of three starch-PVOH biopolymers achieved 58-62%. The LCA modeling showed that the environmental burdens of the starch-PVOH biopolymer packaging under AD conditions on acidification, eutrophication, global warming and photochemical oxidation potential were dominated by atmospheric emissions released from substrate degradation and fuel combustion, whereas energy consumption and infrastructure requirements were the causes of abiotic depletion, ozone depletion and toxic impacts. Nevertheless, for this bio-packaging, AD of the starch-PVOH biopolymer combined with recycling of the cardboard emerged as the environmentally superior option and optimization of the energy utilization system could bring further environmental benefits to the AD process.
Sadhukhan J, Martinez-Hernandez E, Murphy R, Ng D, Hassim M, Ng K, Kim W, Jaye I, Leung M, Hang P, Andiappan V (2017) Role of Bioenergy, Biorefinery and Bioeconomy in Sustainable Development: Strategic Pathways for Malaysia, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 81 (Part 2) pp. 1966-1987 Elsevier
Malaysia has a plethora of biomass that can be utilized in a sustainable manner to produce bio-products for circular green economy. At the 15th Conference of Parties in Copenhagen, Malaysia stated to voluntarily reduce its emissions intensity of gross domestic product by upto 40% by 2020 from 2005 level. Natural resources e.g. forestry and agricultural resources will attribute in achieving these goals. This paper investigates optimum bio-based systems, such as bioenergy and biorefinery, and their prospects in sustainable development in Malaysia, while analyzing comparable cases globally. Palm oil industry will continue to play a major role in deriving products and contributing to gross national income in Malaysia. Based on the current processing capacity, one tonne of crude palm oil (CPO) production is associated with nine tonnes of biomass generation. Local businesses tend to focus on products with low-risk that enjoy subsidies, e.g. Feed-in-Tariff, such as bioenergy, biogas, etc. CPO biomass is utilized to produce biogas, pellets, dried long fibre and bio-fertilizer and recycle water. It is envisaged that co-production of bio-based products, food and pharmaceutical ingredients, fine, specialty and platform chemicals, polymers, alongside biofuel and bioenergy from biomass is possible to achieve overall sustainability by the replacement of fossil resources. Inception of process integration gives prominent innovative biorefinery configurations, an example demonstrated recently, via extraction of recyclable, metal, high value chemical (levulinic acid), fuel, electricity and bio-fertilizer from municipal solid waste or urban waste. Levulinic acid yield by only 5 weight% of waste feedstock gives 1.5 fold increase in profitability and eliminates the need for subsidies such as gate fees paid by local authority to waste processor. Unsustainable practices include consumable food wastage, end-of-pipe cleaning and linear economy that must be replaced by sustainable production and consumption, source segregation and process integration, and product longevity and circular economy.
Black M, Sadhukhan J, Day K, Drage G, Murphy R (2016) Developing database criteria for the assessment of biomass supply chains for biorefinery development, Chemical Engineering Research and Design pp. 253-262 Elsevier
The sustainable biorefinery will only be realised with a focus on optimal combinations of feedstock-process technologies-products. For many years, industry has been looking to add value to the by-products of commercial agriculture, forestry and processing. More recently, as concerns about climate change have increased around the globe, the use of biomass as a carbon saving feedstock (compared to fossil feedstock) has led to the implementation of policies to encourage its use for bioenergy, biofuels and bio-based products. As biomass conversion technologies become reality at the commercial scale for a range of diverse end products, the need to establish bespoke biomass supply chains also becomes a reality and industrial developers will face many business-critical decisions on the sourcing of biomass and location of conversion plants (biorefineries). The research presented here, aims to address these issues through the development of a comprehensive database to aid biomass sourcing and conversion decision-making. The database covers origin, logistics, technical suitability (in this case for a proprietary organosolv pre-treatment process) and policy and other risk attributes of the system. The development of key criteria required by the business community to develop biomass supply chains for specific requirements is discussed.
Ragauskas A, Williams C, Davison B, Britovsek G, Cairney J, Eckert C, Frederick W, Hallett J, Leak D, Liotta C, Mielenz J, Murphy RJ, Templer R, Tschaplinski T (2006) The Path Forward for Biofuels and Biomaterials, Science 311 pp. 484-489
Biomass represents an abundant carbon-neutral renewable resource for the production of bioenergy and biomaterials, and its enhanced use would address several societal needs. Advances in genetics, biotechnology, process chemistry, and engineering are leading to a new manufacturing concept for converting renewable biomass to valuable fuels and products, generally referred to as the biorefinery. The integration of agroenergy crops and biorefinery manufacturing technologies offers the potential for the development of sustainable biopower and biomaterials that will lead to a new manufacturing paradigm.
Zierler RJL, Wehrmeyer WCH, Murphy RJ (2017) The energy efficiency behaviour of individuals in large organisations: A case study of a major UK infrastructure operator, Energy Policy 104 pp. 38-49 Elsevier
Energy consumption behaviours are gradually becoming better-understood. However, there is still a deficit in terms of knowledge of individuals? energy-use behaviours in organisations, despite a variety of available theories. This paper addresses this need in three main stages, based on a survey among mid-level managers at a major infrastructure operator in Great Britain. Firstly, a principal components analysis is performed to identify key determinant constructs driving energy-efficient behaviours in organisations, revealing the importance of perceived benefit to the organisation and flexibility of existing performance goals and targets. Secondly, cluster analysis is undertaken, in an effort to identify differences in behavioural influences between demographic groups. These clusters highlight the heterogeneity of employee populations? energy behaviours, demonstrating that assumptions cannot be made about these based on single responses to cross-industry surveys. Finally, a structural equation model of individuals? energy use intentions and behaviours using the newly-identified constructs is developed, revealing some similarities with existing behavioural frameworks such as the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1991). Implications for policymakers are then discussed, in terms of encouraging individual employees? curtailment of energy consumption in organisations through tailored engagement programmes.
Clift R, Sim S, King H, Chenoweth JL, Christie IP, Clavreul J, Mueller C, Posthuma L, Boulay A, Chaplin-Kramer R, Chatterton J, DeClerck F, Druckman A, France CM, Franco A, Gerten D, Goedkoop M, Hauschild M, Huijbregts M, Koellner T, Lambin E, Lee J, Mair SJ, Marshall S, McLachlan M, Milà i Canals L, Mitchell C, Price E, Rockström J, Suckling JR, Murphy RJ (2017) The Challenges of Applying Planetary Boundaries as a Basis for Strategic Decision-Making in Companies with Global Supply Chains, Sustainability 9 (2) MDPI
The Planetary Boundaries (PB) framework represents a significant advance in specifying the ecological constraints on human development. However, to enable decision-makers in business and public policy to respect these constraints in strategic planning, the PB framework needs to be developed to generate practical tools. With this objective in mind, we analyse the recent literature and highlight three major scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the PB approach in decision-making: first, identification of thresholds or boundaries with associated metrics for different geographical scales; second, the need to frame approaches to allocate fair shares in the ?safe operating space? bounded by the PBs across the value chain and; third, the need for international bodies to co-ordinate the implementation of the measures needed to respect the Planetary Boundaries. For the first two of these challenges, we consider how they might be addressed for four PBs: climate change, freshwater use, biosphere integrity and chemical pollution and other novel entities. Four key opportunities are identified: (1) development of a common system of metrics that can be applied consistently at and across different scales; (2) setting ?distance from boundary? measures that can be applied at different scales; (3) development of global, preferably open-source, databases and models; and (4) advancing understanding of the interactions between the different PBs. Addressing the scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the planetary boundaries needs be complemented with progress in addressing the equity and ethical issues in allocating the safe operating space between companies and sectors.
Zierler R (2018) Energy-saving attitudes and behavioural influences in large organisations : the case of Network Rail.,
Railways in the UK account for 1% of all electricity consumed nationally, and Network Rail consumed in excess of 400GWh in 2013/14. Large organisations need to reduce their energy consumption in order to prevent adverse climatic effects driven by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This doctoral thesis investigates attitudes and behaviours of individual Network Rail employees, relating to the adoption of energy-efficient practices and technologies, and their likely impacts on the organisation?s energy consumption.
The research programme consists of two principal stages. Firstly, an exploratory approach is taken with managers of railway energy infrastructure to establish factors which may be influencing these behaviours, based on a commonly-used research framework for semi-structured interviews.
Secondly, a staff survey is developed based on findings from the exploratory interviews. This is designed to test commonly-used behavioural frameworks from the sociological and psychological literature on pro-environmental behaviours in a variety of contexts, including the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), and Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour (Triandis, 1977). This survey also tests the salience of a set of barriers to energy efficiency in organisations proposed by Sorrell et al (2000; 2004).
However, analysis of collected survey data suggests that no single theory provided a strong fit with observed results. Principal components analysis and structural equation modelling suggest an array of 6 alternative factors governing energy-efficient behaviours, management practices, and technology adoption, and an alternative causal model is proposed, based on these new factors. Cluster analysis then categorises groups of employees based on their personal approaches to energy consumption. Although a combination of technological- and behavioural interventions are required to mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2014b), the findings presented here highlight how understanding the attitudinal and behavioural context in which energy consumption behaviours take place can help large organisations such as Network Rail lower their electricity consumption.
Velenturf A (2016) Promoting industrial symbiosis : analysing context and network evolution during biowaste-to-resource innovations.,
Government and industry increasingly face challenges resulting from resource scarcity and climate change. By reducing carbon emissions whilst promoting resource efficiency and business development, industrial symbiosis has been recognised as a strategy to manage these challenges. Industrial symbiosis can be interpreted as the innovative use of waste from one company as a resource for another company, i.e. waste-to-resource innovation. These resource innovations involve the development of relations between waste producers and users, and often governmental organisations and other actors. A review of industrial symbiosis and relevant network and innovation literature concluded that empirical understanding of the implementation of industrial symbiosis, and consequently how it can be promoted by public and private organisations, needed considerable improvement. Hence, a qualitative empirical exploration was conducted to answer the question: How and why did industrial symbiosis develop over time? The exploration was carried out in the Humber region (UK) and, with several bio-based developments emerging in the area, focused on biowaste-to-resource innovation. Case studies with companies revealed: the social process through which resource partnerships developed; important contextual conditions (resource security, economic benefits, and governance); and varying network diversification and strengthening strategies. Analysing these innovations in their longer-term dynamic contexts revealed different business-responses to context-changes through their varying innovation and government-engagement strategies. Some companies were constrained by poor harmonisation of economic and various governmental drivers. In particular, since 2012, regional governance capacity for biowaste-to-resource innovation decreased while such innovations gained momentum at national government level. These findings have added to understanding of variation in factors and processes associated with implementing industrial symbiosis through company activities, strategies, and collaborations; and the relations between context dynamics, evolution of industrial symbiosis networks, and on-going business development. The level of detail revealed in this inductive empirical research contributed to identifying numerous further research directions. Moreover, practical recommendations were provided to companies and governmental organisations supporting the promotion of industrial symbiosis and contributing to the on-going transition to a more resource efficient and circular economy.
Patel M, Bechu A, Villegas J, Bergez-Lacoste M, Yeung K, Murphy R, Woods J, Mwabonje O, Ni Y, Patel A, Gallagher J, Bryant D (2018) Second-generation bio-based plastics are becoming a reality - Non-renewable energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of succinic acid-based plastic end products made from lignocellulosic biomass, Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 12 pp. 426-441 Wiley
Bio-based and bio-degradable plastics such as polybutylene succinate (PBS) have the potential to become sustainable alternatives to petrochemical-based plastics. Polybutylene succinate can be produced from bio-based succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol using first-generation (1G) or second-generation (2G) sugars. A cradle-to-grave environmental assessment was performed for PBS products in Europe to investigate the non-renewable energy use (NREU) and greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts. The products investigated are single-use trays and agricultural film, with incineration, industrial composting and degradation on agricultural land as end-of-life scenarios. Both end products manufactured from fully bio-based PBS and from partly bio-based PBS (made from bio-based succinic acid and fossil fuel-based 1,4 butanediol) were analysed. We examine corn (1G) as well as corn stover, wheat straw, miscanthus and hardwood as 2G feedstocks. For the cradle-to-grave system, 1G fully bio-based PBS plastic products were found to have environmental impacts comparable with their petrochemical incumbents, while 2G fully bio-based PBS plastic products allow to reduce NREU and GHG by around one third under the condition of avoidance of concentration of sugars and energy integration of the pretreatment process with monomer production. Without energy integration and with concentration of sugars (i.e., separate production), the impacts of 2G fully bio-based PBS products are approximately 15?20% lower than those of 1G fully bio-based PBS products. The environmental analysis of PBS products supports the value proposition related to PBS products while also pointing out areas requiring further research and development.
Andries A, Morse S, Lynch J, Woolliams E, Fonweban J, Murphy R (2018) Translation of Remote Sensing data into Sustainable Development
Proceedings of ISDRS24 ISDR
In 2015, member countries of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sustainable
Development Summit in New York. These global goals have 169 targets and 232 indicators which are based on the three
pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Substantial challenges remain in obtaining data of
the required quality, especially in developing countries, given the limited resources involved. One promising and innovative
way of addressing this issue of data availability is to use Earth Observation (EO). This paper presents the results of research
to analyse and optimise the potential of EO approaches to populate the SDG indicators and targets. We present a matrix of
EO technologies with respect to the full set of current SDG indicators which shows the potential for direct or proxy
calibrations across the span of the social, economic and environmental SDG indicators. We have focussed particularly on
those SDG indicators covering the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development as these are relatively
unexplored from an EO context. Results suggest that EO can make an important contribution towards populating the SDG
indicators, but there is a spectrum from at one end the sole use of EO to the other end where the EO derived data have to be
used in concert with data collected via non-EO means (surveys etc.). Complicating factors also include the lack of driving
force and pressure indicators in the SDG framework and the use of ?proxy? indicators not part of the SDG framework but
more amenable to EO-derived assessment. The next phase of the research will involve the presenting of these ideas to
experts in the EO and indicator arenas for their assessment.
Jaye I, Sadhukhan J, Murphy R (2018) Integrated Assessment of Palm Oil Mill Residues to
Sustainable Electricity System (POMR-SES): A Case Study
from Peninsular Malaysia,
IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering 358 012002 Institute of Physics
Generating electricity from biomass are undeniably gives huge advantages to the
energy security, environmental protection and the social development. Nevertheless, it always
been negatively claimed as not economically competitive as compared to the conventional
electricity generation system using fossil fuel. Due to the unfair subsidies given to renewable
energy based fuel and the maturity of conventional electricity generation system, the
commercialization of this system is rather discouraging. The uniqueness of the chemical and
physical properties of the biomass and the functionality of the system are fully depending on
the availability of the biomass resources, the capital expenditure of the system is relatively
expensive. To remain competitive, biomass based system must be developed in their most
economical form. Therefore the justification of the economies of scale of such system is
become essential. This study will provide a comprehensive review of process to select an
appropriate size for electricity generation plant from palm oil mill (POM) residues through the
combustion of an empty fruit bunch (EFB) and biogas from the anaerobic digestion of palm oil
mill effluent (POME) in Peninsular Malaysia using a mathematical model and simulation using
ASPEN Plus software package. The system operated at 4 MW capacity is expected to provide
a return on investment (ROI) of 20% with a payback period of 6.5 years. It is notably agreed
that the correct selection of generation plant size will have a significant impact on overall
economic and environmental feasibility of the system.