Biodiesel fuel is a renewable energy source unlike petroleum-based diesel. Compared to other alternative fuels, biodiesel supports some unique features and qualities. It is a non-ecotoxic product and obtained from vegetable oils and animal fats with a favourable balance in terms of GWP (Global Warming Potential) and EROI (Energy Return On Investment). Unfortunately, at present biodiesel fuel is more expensive than petroleum diesel fuel, it requires energy to produce oil fuel from soy crops, plus the energy of sowing, fertilizing and harvesting. Furthermore, biodiesel production has also some critical aspects mainly related to its impacts on the environment and health. The human and environmental impacts are usually assessed using LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) and RA (Risk Assessment) approaches. The first method is applied to analyse the life cycle of the product, understand the critical points of the production process and improve the performance of the system; the second method analyses human and environmental risks. By integrating the two approaches, to study a production process, it is possible to exploit the potential of both in order to provide a more complete impact assessment. In this paper we focus on the implementation of a Life Cycle Indicator integrating the features of both the approaches for the estimation of the impacts on human health and environment. To achieve this aim a review of current indicators is provided, and their limits and differences have been examined in detail. Finally, taking advantage of this critical analysis, the impacts related to a soy-biodiesel production have been estimated.

Human Health and Environmental Impacts in soy-biodiesel production: limits and differences among current indicators

SPINA, FRANCESCO
;
MILAZZO, Maria Francesca
2013

Abstract

Biodiesel fuel is a renewable energy source unlike petroleum-based diesel. Compared to other alternative fuels, biodiesel supports some unique features and qualities. It is a non-ecotoxic product and obtained from vegetable oils and animal fats with a favourable balance in terms of GWP (Global Warming Potential) and EROI (Energy Return On Investment). Unfortunately, at present biodiesel fuel is more expensive than petroleum diesel fuel, it requires energy to produce oil fuel from soy crops, plus the energy of sowing, fertilizing and harvesting. Furthermore, biodiesel production has also some critical aspects mainly related to its impacts on the environment and health. The human and environmental impacts are usually assessed using LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) and RA (Risk Assessment) approaches. The first method is applied to analyse the life cycle of the product, understand the critical points of the production process and improve the performance of the system; the second method analyses human and environmental risks. By integrating the two approaches, to study a production process, it is possible to exploit the potential of both in order to provide a more complete impact assessment. In this paper we focus on the implementation of a Life Cycle Indicator integrating the features of both the approaches for the estimation of the impacts on human health and environment. To achieve this aim a review of current indicators is provided, and their limits and differences have been examined in detail. Finally, taking advantage of this critical analysis, the impacts related to a soy-biodiesel production have been estimated.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11570/2671287
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