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Environmental impact studies of biodiesel production from Jatropha curcas in india by life cycle assessment

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Abstract

Environmental performance of biodiesel derived from Jatropha curcas seed was studied by life cycle assessment methodology in India. This paper also compares the environmental impact of Jatropha-based biodiesel and its blends (20% and 50%) with diesel fuel. The lifecycle of Jatropha-based biodiesel production includes the stages of cultivation, oil extraction, biodiesel production, and transportation to the fuel station. The functional unit of this study was 1 ton of biodiesel production and the impact categories studied were carcinogens, respiratory organics and inorganics, climate change, radiation, ozone layer depletion, ecotoxicity, acidification/eutrophication, land use, mineral use, and fossil fuels. The results revealed that among all the stages, emission from soil and air caused by cultivation process of Jatropha is the largest contributors to most of environmental impact categories. The categories with greater impacts are carcinogens, ecotoxicity, respiratory inorganics, acidification, eutrophication, and land use with the percentage of 80%, 72%, 71%, 66.7%, and 63%, respectively. Comparison results of biodiesel and its blends with diesel fuel showed that increase of biodiesel blends have minimal effect on the environment. Moreover, lifecycle assessment of biodiesel production has a positive contribution to climate change than the fossil fuel. The results suggest the enhanced usage of this renewable fuel in future with inclusion of further technological improvement in farming practices and production process. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 33: 1340–1349, 2014

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