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Article

A Comparative Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Study of Bio-Energy Feedstock from Camelina sativa, an Italian Case Study

1
Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology, National Research Council (IBBA-CNR) via E. Bassini 15, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie, Alimentari, Ambientali e Forestali (DAGRI), Università degli Studi di Firenze, Piazzale delle Cascine 15, 50144 Florence, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9590; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229590
Received: 7 October 2020 / Revised: 14 November 2020 / Accepted: 15 November 2020 / Published: 17 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Growing energy needs and medium-term weakening of fossil energy reserves are driving forces towards the exploitation of alternative and renewable energy sources, such as biofuels from energy crops. In recent years, Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz has been rediscovered and is gaining popularity worldwide. The present work reports the results of a study on the life cycle, from cradle-to-gate, of C. sativa oil as a raw material for the production of biofuels in northern Italy, considering two scenarios, namely, the production of biodiesel (BD) and the extraction of pure vegetable oil (PVO). The functional unit was 1 megajoule of biofuel. A life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) was calculated according to the ILCD2011 procedure. Focusing on the global warming potential, the PVO scenario performs better than the BD scenario, with around 30 g CO2eq MJ−1. The net energy ratio (NER) exceeds unity for BD (approximately 1.4) or PVO (approximately 2.5). The same general trend was recorded for all calculated LCIA indicators; the common evidence is a generalized worse performance of the BD scenario, with indicators always scoring higher than the PVO. In particular, the two human toxicity indicators—carcinogenic and fresh water—eutrophication represent a significant difference, attributable to the refining process. Uncertainty and sensitivity analyses, respectively, underline the generalized importance of agricultural performances in the field and of allocation choices. Specifically, the importance of the grain yield and seed oil content in determining the environmental performance of the two scenarios was evident. As far as allocation is concerned, mass allocation provides the most favorable results, while on the other hand, the expansion of the system was the most penalizing alternative. View Full-Text
Keywords: LCA; energy crop; GWP; biofuels LCA; energy crop; GWP; biofuels
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MDPI and ACS Style

Masella, P.; Galasso, I. A Comparative Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Study of Bio-Energy Feedstock from Camelina sativa, an Italian Case Study. Sustainability 2020, 12, 9590. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229590

AMA Style

Masella P, Galasso I. A Comparative Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Study of Bio-Energy Feedstock from Camelina sativa, an Italian Case Study. Sustainability. 2020; 12(22):9590. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229590

Chicago/Turabian Style

Masella, Piernicola, and Incoronata Galasso. 2020. "A Comparative Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Study of Bio-Energy Feedstock from Camelina sativa, an Italian Case Study" Sustainability 12, no. 22: 9590. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229590

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