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Comparative energy and environmental analysis of Jatropha bioelectricity versus biodiesel production in remote areas

Portugal-Pereira, Joana, Nakatani, Jun, Kurisu, Kiyo H., Hanaki, Keisuke
Energy 2015 v.83 pp. 284-293
Jatropha, acidification, biodiesel, bioelectricity, energy, environmental assessment, environmental performance, fossils, fuel production, global warming potential, life cycle assessment, particulates, petroleum, power generation, production technology, rural electrification
This study presents a comparative analysis between Jatropha seed production systems to generate bioelectricity versus production of biodiesel under current and optimised conditions. An LCA (life cycle assessment) has been developed, comprising both upstream and downstream processes, encompassing the farming, collection, fuel processing and usage phases. The following energy and environmental indicators were assessed: fossil depletion, GWP (global warming potential), TAP (terrestrial acidification potential), and PMF (particulate matter formation).The rural electrification based on the JCO (Jatropha crude oil) system is more environmentally friendly compared to generation of biodiesel, in terms of TAP and PMF indicators. Under current practices, two out of the four evaluated indicators score positive benefits, when compared to the generation of marginal diesel-based electricity. The optimisation of the expelling pressing process and the power generation engine could bring further improvements in terms of fossil depletion, GWP and PMF indicators. The biodiesel route, on the other hand, presents a limited local environmental performance, showing only gains in terms of fossil depletion and GWP.