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Comparative Farm-Gate Life Cycle Assessment of Oilseed Feedstocks in the Northern Great Plains

Devin Moeller, Heidi L. Sieverding and James J. Stone ()
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Devin Moeller: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Heidi L. Sieverding: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
James J. Stone: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, 2017, vol. 2, issue 4, 1-16

Abstract: Abstract Second generation biofuel feedstocks such as carinata (Brassica carinata L. Braun) and camelina (Camelina sativa L. Crantz) offer unique advantages over traditional bioenergy alternatives, such as canola (Brassica napus L.) or soybean (Glycine max L. Merr). As the global demand for food and livestock feed continues grow, the utility of canola and soybeans as a bioenergy resource is uncertain. This work focused on two oilseed alternatives for use as biofuel feedstocks across the semi-arid region of the Northern Great Plains. This analysis compared the geographic distribution of current yields, assessed the environmental impacts, and evaluated the energetic benefit of oilseed production at aggregated crop management zone levels through a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The average regional LCA results for environmental and energetic impacts for carinata and camelina compared favorably to canola and soybeans and were found to represent sustainable biofuel feedstock alternatives for the study region. The estimated climate change impact of carinata and camelina offered a substantial benefit over that of canola and soybeans. The regional results for freshwater and marine eutrophication potential and the net energy results of carinata and camelina also compared favorably to canola and soybeans. The most environmentally and energetically beneficial feedstock varied based on geographic location within the region. Soybeans tended to perform well in southeastern South Dakota, canola performed well in northeastern North Dakota, and camelina and carinata remained strong alternatives comparatively across the region.

Keywords: Biofuel feedstocks; Carinata; Camelina; Life cycle assessment; Net energy results; Northern Great Plains (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1007/s41247-017-0030-3

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