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Life Cycle Water Footprint Analysis for Rapeseed Derived Jet Fuel in North Dakota

Shi, Rui, Ukaew, Suchada, Archer, David W., Lee, Joon Hee, Pearlson, Matthew N., Lewis, Kristin C., Shonnard, David R.
ACS sustainable chemistry 2017 v.5 no.5 pp. 3845-3854
biofuels, climate change, energy, environmental impact, fatty acids, freshwater, fuel production, hydrologic cycle, life cycle assessment, models, prices, rapeseed, water footprint, water quality, water supply, water utilization, North Dakota
Rapeseed is considered to be a promising sources for hydroprocessed ester and fatty acid (HEFA) jet fuel production as a means to address energy security and climate change mitigation. However, concerns have been raised about its impact on water, as large-scale biofuel production may place pressure on fresh water supplies and water quality. Water footprint (WF) analysis, when combined with water-focused life cycle assessment (LCA), can be an effective system analysis tool for water sustainability. This study developed a life cycle water footprint analysis informed by inputs from multiple models for rapeseed HEFA jet fuel production in North Dakota and evaluated the environmental impacts on water utilization and water quality due to large scale HEFA jet production. The biogeochemical-based EPIC model was incorporated to simulate crop growth that influences the hydrological cycle. Systematic LCA models were built in SimaPro to conduct life cycle blue WF analysis. Results using energy allocation indicate that rapeseed derived HEFA jet fuel has a WF of 131–143 m³ per GJ fuel over a rapeseed price range of $470–600, including all green, blue, and gray WF components. Discussions also indicate the importance of incorporating allocation within a life cycle approach when conducting biofuel WF analysis.