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Title: Integrated environmental assessment of sunflower oil production
Authors: Spinelli, Daniele
Jez, Sabina 
Basosi, Riccardo 
Keywords: vegetable oil; material flow accounting; embodied energy analysis; emergy accounting; life cycle assessment
Issue Date: 2012
Project: None 
The high energy and petroleum based fuels demand of the world require use of alternative fuels frommaterials available within each country. Therefore biofuels may be an alternative to mineral diesel. Alocal pilot production of sunflower oil was implemented in order to test the possibility to reduce fossilfuels consumption on a local scale. Vegetable oils can be directly obtained from oilseed plants and canbe used as energy sources in internal combustion engines.Environmental Impact Indicators were provided by Material Flow Accounting, Embodied Energy Analysisand Emergy Accounting. All three approaches reveal that the agricultural phase is the critical step inthe whole production line from the point of view of environmental impact. The renewability calculatedfor the sunflower oil is 33.6%.A comparative Life Cycle Assessment analysis for the sunflower oil production line from conventionalfarming with organic farming showed environmental advantages.Furthermore use of vegetable oils instead of diesel oil as energy sources in internal combustion enginesreduces carbon dioxide emissions of 59%.This study represents an opportunity for farms to reduce dependence on petroleum and to exploreenergy production systems exploiting renewable energy.
ISSN: 1359-5113
DOI: 10.1016/j.procbio.2011.08.007
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