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Converting biomass (hybrid poplar) to sugar intermediates via various pretreatment technologies is analyzed within an overall conversion context. Sugar cost is presented as minimum sugar selling price (MSSP), including the operating cost of chemicals used in pretreatment and on-site enzyme production for enzymatic hydrolysis, and the capital costs of pretreatment, enzyme production, enzymatic hydrolysis, energy, and water integration. Sugar yields and enzyme loadings are the key parameters that influence the economics of sugar production from lignocellulosic biomass using. This study also performs an analysis of the environmental sustainability of the sugar production processes, including 1) quantification of the direct emissions (CO2, NO2, SO2) and consumptive water use, and 2) life-cycle assessment of global-warming potential and fossil energy demand. Results from the environmental sustainability study, augmenting the cost data, provide a more comprehensive understanding of the processes and consequently more informed evaluation and comparison of the technologies can be made. Concurrence between environmental sustainability performances and sugar production costs exists for these pretreatment technologies. Further R&D to better understand the tradeoffs of these pretreatment technologies is warranted. Results provided in this paper can serve as the baseline for future comparison.

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