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Open AccessArticle

LCA Study of Oleaginous Bioenergy Chains in a Mediterranean Environment

Department of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cagliari, Via Marengo 2, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
Department of Agriculture, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
National Research Council, Institute for the Animal Production System in Mediterranean Environment (CNR-ISPAAM), Traversa La Crucca 3, Località Baldinca, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Department of Crop Production, Agricultural Research Agency of Sardinia (AGRIS), Viale Trieste 111, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2014, 7(10), 6258-6281;
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 8 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energy for Agriculture)
This paper reports outcomes of life cycle assessments (LCAs) of three different oleaginous bioenergy chains (oilseed rape, Ethiopian mustard and cardoon) under Southern Europe conditions. Accurate data on field practices previously collected during a three-year study at two sites were used. The vegetable oil produced by oleaginous seeds was used for power generation in medium-speed diesel engines while the crop residues were used in steam power plants. For each bioenergy chain, the environmental impact related to cultivation, transportation of agricultural products and industrial conversion for power generation was evaluated by calculating cumulative energy demand, acidification potential and global warming potential. For all three bioenergy chains, the results of the LCA study show a considerable saving of primary energy (from 70 to 86 GJ·ha−1) and greenhouse gas emissions (from 4.1 to 5.2 t CO2·ha−1) in comparison to power generation from fossil fuels, although the acidification potential of these bioenergy chains may be twice that of conventional power generation. In addition, the study highlights that land use changes due to the cultivation of the abovementioned crops reduce soil organic content and therefore worsen and increase greenhouse gas emissions for all three bioenergy chains. The study also demonstrates that the exploitation of crop residues for energy production greatly contributes to managing environmental impact of the three bioenergy chains. View Full-Text
Keywords: life cycle assessment (LCA); bioenergy chains; oilseed rape; Ethiopian mustard; cardoon life cycle assessment (LCA); bioenergy chains; oilseed rape; Ethiopian mustard; cardoon
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Cocco, D.; Deligios, P.A.; Ledda, L.; Sulas, L.; Virdis, A.; Carboni, G. LCA Study of Oleaginous Bioenergy Chains in a Mediterranean Environment. Energies 2014, 7, 6258-6281.

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