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Life cycle assessment of biodiesel production in China

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This study aims to evaluate energy, economic, and environmental performances of seven categories of biodiesel feedstocks by using the mixed-unit input-output life cycle assessment method. Various feedstocks have different environmental performances, indicating potential environmental problem-shift. Jatropha seed, castor seed, waste cooking oil, and waste extraction oil are preferred feedstocks for biodiesel production in the short term. Positive net energy yields and positive net economic benefits of biodiesel from these four feedstocks are 2.3-52.0% of their life cycle energy demands and 74.1-448.4% of their economic costs, respectively. Algae are preferred in the long term mainly due to their less arable land demands. Special attention should be paid to potential environmental problems accompanying feedstock choice: freshwater use, ecotoxicity potentials, photochemical oxidation potential, acidification potential and eutrophication potential. Moreover, key processes are identified by sensitivity analysis to direct future technology improvements. Finally, supporting measures are proposed to optimize China's biodiesel development. Life cycle assessment of biodiesel production in China.

Tianzhu Zhang
Research Areas
Energy Systems
Agriculture, Bioenergy, Biofuel, Input–output Analysis, Life Cycle Assessment
Publication Type
Journal Article
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Full Citation
Liang, Sai, Ming Xu, Tianzhu Zhang. (2013) “Life cycle assessment of biodiesel production in China.” Bioresource Technology 129: 72-77.