Regional life cycle assessment of soybean derived biodiesel for transportation fleets

Xiaobo Xue, William O. Collinge, Scott O. Shrake, Melissa M. Bilec, Amy E. Landis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Although the life cycle environmental impacts of biofuels have been recently reported, studies that focus on specific regions and use real fleet data for the use phase are still lacking. In Pennsylvania, the Penn Security Fuels Initiative required 2% biodiesel (B2), effective on January 1, 2010, with higher blending levels required in the future if production thresholds are met. This study quantifies the environmental impacts of biodiesel blends to meet increasing regional biodiesel demand. A process life cycle model was developed using data collected from collaboration with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. For PennDOT, both in-state and out-of-state production scenarios were analyzed to estimate the possible environmental impacts of biodiesel blends. The results show that fertilizer usage in the agricultural phase, soy oil extraction and refining, feedstock and fuel transportation, and fuel combustion in the use phase are main contributors to biodiesel's life cycle environmental impacts for all blends. Comparing biodiesels with ultra low sulfur diesel, significant environmental tradeoffs exist between global warming potential and eutrophication. For Pennsylvania, an in-state farming and processing preference has the lowest environmental impacts for B5. However, the limited area of farmlands in Pennsylvania may not satisfy the state's biodiesel needs with higher blending levels.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)295-303
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnergy Policy
    Volume48
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 2012

    Fingerprint

    Biodiesel
    soybean
    Life cycle
    environmental impact
    life cycle
    Environmental impact
    Eutrophication
    biofuel
    Global warming
    diesel
    Biofuels
    eutrophication
    Fertilizers
    global warming
    Feedstocks
    agricultural land
    combustion
    Refining
    sulfur
    fertilizer

    Keywords

    • Life cycle assessment
    • Soybean biodiesel
    • Transportation and environment

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Energy(all)
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

    Cite this

    Xue, X., Collinge, W. O., Shrake, S. O., Bilec, M. M., & Landis, A. E. (2012). Regional life cycle assessment of soybean derived biodiesel for transportation fleets. Energy Policy, 48, 295-303. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.05.025

    Regional life cycle assessment of soybean derived biodiesel for transportation fleets. / Xue, Xiaobo; Collinge, William O.; Shrake, Scott O.; Bilec, Melissa M.; Landis, Amy E.

    In: Energy Policy, Vol. 48, 09.2012, p. 295-303.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Xue, Xiaobo ; Collinge, William O. ; Shrake, Scott O. ; Bilec, Melissa M. ; Landis, Amy E. / Regional life cycle assessment of soybean derived biodiesel for transportation fleets. In: Energy Policy. 2012 ; Vol. 48. pp. 295-303.
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