A life cycle assessment of biodiesel production from winter rape grown in Southern Europe

Carles M. Gasol, Jordi Salvia, Joan Serra, Assumpció Antón, Eva Sevigne, Joan Rieradevall, Xavier Gabarrell

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15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyses the viability of Brassica napus as an energy crop cultivated for producing biodiesel in southern Europe. The proposed methodology assessment combines physical variables such as grain production and agroclimate conditions with environmental analysis (LCA) in order to determine the Mediterranean agroclimates areas that could be cultivated for non-food purposes. The results obtained in a local production and distribution scenario (25 km) demonstrate that the biodiesel systems analysed have a better energy balance than diesel. Biodiesel obtained a net energy benefit of 16.25 MJ kg -1 of biodiesel or 35.10 MJ kg -1 of biodiesel when the avoided impacts from coproducts (glycerine and rapemeal) are considered in comparison with conventional diesel. In terms of environmental performance, the biodiesel system also has less impact compared with diesel in three categories Abiotic Depletion (AD), Photochemical Oxidation (PO) and Global Warming Potential (GWP). The estimated impact reduction in the GWP category when is compared with diesel reached a minimum of 1.76 kg CO 2 eq. per kg of biodiesel when emissions of the use phase are included. The paper also demonstrates that agroclimates called "e", "b" and "d" that ensure grain productions higher than 2000 kg ha -1 the biodiesel commercialization from B. napus energy crop is suitable in environmental terms for an energy local and regional production and distribution strategy. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-81
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • Brassica napus
  • Diesel
  • Energetic analysis
  • Energy crops
  • Environmental analysis

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