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The Next Generation Feedstock of Biofuel: Jatropha or Chlorella as Assessed by Their Life-Cycle Inventories

by Pu Peng 1,* and Wenguang Zhou 2,*
State Key Laboratory of Catalytic Material and Reaction Engineering, Research Institute of Petroleum Processing, SINOPEC, 18 Xue Yuan Road, Beijing 100083, China
Center for Biorefining, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, 1390 Eckles Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2014, 4(3), 217-230;
Received: 19 May 2014 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 19 June 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture)
Promising energy crops such as Jatropha curcas Linnaeus (JCL), which are planted on marginal lands, or microalgae such as Chlorella, which are cultivated in ponds located on mudflats or deserts, have been regarded with high hopes to solve the shortage of food crops and increase the amount of biodiesel (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester, FAME) production. However, the annual yields of biomass and transport fuels (t/ha) of both are still unclear and often exaggerated in the literature. Large portions of JCL biomass, including tree trunks and leaves, can also be used to generate electricity along with FAME, which is produced from seed lipids. Meanwhile, lipid extracted algae (LEA) are composed of proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids other than glycerides which are unable to be esterified to form FAME and much more abundant in the microalgae than oil cake in the oil crops. Therefore, it has been strongly suggested that not only transesterification or esterification but also Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process and bio-electricity generation should be considered as routes to produce biofuels. Otherwise, the yield of biofuel would be extremely low using either JCL or Chlorella as feedstock. The Life-Cycle Inventories (LCI) of the biofuel processes with whole biomass of JCL and Chlorella were compared based on their net energy ratio (NER) and CO2 emission saving (CES). It was shown that the technological improvement of irrigation, cultivation, and processing for either economic-crops or microalgae were all necessary to meet the requirements of commercial biofuel production. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiesel; biofuel; jatropha; microalgae; Chlorella; LCA; LCI biodiesel; biofuel; jatropha; microalgae; Chlorella; LCA; LCI
MDPI and ACS Style

Peng, P.; Zhou, W. The Next Generation Feedstock of Biofuel: Jatropha or Chlorella as Assessed by Their Life-Cycle Inventories. Agriculture 2014, 4, 217-230.

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