A comparative life cycle assessment of petroleum and soybean-based lubricants

Shelie A. Miller, Amy E. Landis, Thomas L. Theis, Ronald A. Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

A comparative life cycle assessment examining soybean and petroleum-based lubricants is compiled using Monte Carlo analysis to assess system variability. Experimental data obtained from an aluminum manufacturing facility indicate significantly less soybean lubricant is required to achieve similar or superior performance. With improved performance and a lower use rate, a transition to soybean oil results in lower aggregate impacts of acidification, smog formation, and human health from criteria pollutants. Regardless of quantity consumed, soybean-based lubricants exhibit significant climate change and fossil fuel use benefits; however, eutrophication impacts are much greater due to non-point nutrient emissions. Fundamental tradeoffs in the carbon and nitrogen cycles are addressed in the analysis, demonstrating that a transition to soybean oil may result in climate change benefits at the expense of regional water quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4143-4149
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume41
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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