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Forests 2018, 9(9), 548;

CO2 Footprint of the Seeds of Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) as a Biodiesel Feedstock Source

Department Biobased Products and Energy Crops, Institute of Crop Science, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
Thünen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics, 21031 Hamburg, Germany
Department Agronomy in the Tropics and Subtropics, Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 August 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Bioenergy and Bioproducts)
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Crude rubber seed oil (CRSO) is a promising but currently underutilized biodiesel feedstock alternative, extracted by pressing the seeds of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Rubber trees are cultivated across more than 11.4 million hectares worldwide, mainly in Southeast Asia. Despite their suitability as a biodiesel feedstock source, rubber seeds are currently treated as waste in the monocultural plantation system. To date, no assessments have been performed to examine the potential impact of rubber seed-based biodiesel production on GHG emissions. This study analyses the global warming potential of rubber seed methyl ester (RSME) production in Southeast Asia. The functional unit used is 1 MJ of biodiesel. A sensitivity analysis assesses the influence of key parameters (e.g., rubber seed yield) on the GHG mitigation potential. A scenario analysis evaluates the effect of using RSME by-products for energy generation. In comparison to fossil diesel, RSME has a carbon mitigation potential of 67 g CO2.eq. MJ−1, based on allocation by mass. On the condition of compliance with international sustainability standards that call for deforestation-free value chains, the generation of RSME biodiesel on rubber tree plantations in Southeast Asia would have a total mitigation potential of around 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 eq. per year. View Full-Text
Keywords: LCA; GHG emissions; rubber tree seeds; biodiesel; mitigation potential; CO2 footprint LCA; GHG emissions; rubber tree seeds; biodiesel; mitigation potential; CO2 footprint

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Wagner, M.; Lippe, M.; Lewandowski, I.; Salzer, M.; Cadisch, G. CO2 Footprint of the Seeds of Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) as a Biodiesel Feedstock Source. Forests 2018, 9, 548.

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