Biodiesel Production from Canola in Western Australia: Energy and Carbon Footprints and Land, Water, and Labour Requirements
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This study evaluates the energy and carbon footprints and land, water, and labor requirements of biodiesel production from canola in Western Australia (WA). The results show that canola-based biodiesel leads to limited energy profit and CO2 equivalent (CO2-e) emissions savings. Even when all byproduct are utilized, a relatively low output/input energy ratio of 1.72 and a CO2-e emissions savings of only 0.52 kg of CO2-e/L of biodiesel are obtained under the WA conditions considered in this study. A land requirement of 1.66 × 10−3 ha/L of biodiesel means that canola-based biodiesel seems to also be limited to <2% replacement of total diesel consumption in WA’s transport sector to avoid significant competition with food production for arable land. When some of the biodiesel is invested back into the production process to make the process independent of nonrenewable fuels, the competition for arable land use is even more severe, rendering it unfeasible to replace diesel fuel by the net biodiesel. Also, there would not be enough net biodiesel to support the transport activities that are usually supported by diesel fuel in the WA transport sector, and no CO2-e emissions savings would be achieved from replacing diesel fuel by net biodiesel. Overall, canola-based biodiesel is not sustainable to replace a significant fraction of diesel consumption in the WA transport sector. It can only play a limited role by offering some energy and CO2-e emissions savings and by providing immediate opportunities for introducing new transport fuels in the marketplace and developing familiarity among the consumers in our transition to a future sustainable biofuel supply.
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