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An Update on Life Cycle Study of Soybean Oil Biodiesel Production

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2006 ASAE Annual Meeting  066142.(doi:10.13031/2013.28030)
Authors:   Anup Pradhan, Dev Sagar Shrestha
Keywords:   Biodiesel, Soybean Oil, Life Cycle Analysis, Net Energy Return

The life cycle analysis of soybean oil biodiesel production was performed to estimate the net fossil energy balance of soybean oil biodiesel. The energy inputs were found to be less than the energy contained in the biodiesel. The net energy return of biodiesel was found to be in the range of 2.64 to 2.78 using the NREL energy allocation approach. The addition of labor, farm machinery and soybean transportation energy to this approach didnt show much difference. Pimentel and Patzek energy allocation approach gave the net energy return in the range of 0.85:1 to 0.88:1. However, allocating energy as in NREL study, this method yielded in the net energy return above five folds (5.69 to 5.93), thus giving an energy gain that is even higher than the 3.2 value from the NREL report. The energy allocation approach plays the crucial role in the variation of the net energy return. The net gain in the energy from soybean oil biodiesel showed the effective use of fossil energy resources. This confirms the renewable nature of soybean oil biodiesel.

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