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Journal of Cleaner Production 37 (2012) 162e171

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Journal of Cleaner Production
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A life cycle assessment comparison between centralized and decentralized biodiesel production from raw sunflower oil and waste cooking oils
Loreto Iglesias, Adriana Laca, Mónica Herrero, Mario Díaz*
Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Oviedo, C/ Julián Clavería s/n., 33071 Oviedo, Asturias, Spain

a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history: Received 17 October 2011 Received in revised form 1 June 2012 Accepted 2 July 2012 Available online 10 July 2012 Keywords: LCA Biodiesel Sunflower oil Waste cooking oils Biofuels Scale production Plant distribution

a b s t r a c t
In this study, a comparative Life Cycle Assessment has been performed with the aim of finding out how the environmental impact derived from biodiesel production (using raw sunflower oil or waste cooking oils) could be affected by the degree of decentralization of the production (number of production plants in a given territory). The decentralized production of biodiesel has been proposed for several reasons, such as the possibility of small scale production, the fact that there is no need to use high technology or make large investments, and because small plants do not need highly specialized technical staff. Thus, hypothetical territories (considering scenarios in which the production and area were theoretically modified), as well as real territories, have been analyzed to determine which environmental indicators were most affected. Results showed that the optimum degree of centralization was different for each analyzed case. In general, in small territories centralized production was more suitable for the environment, decentralization being more advisable as the territory increased in area. For each of the cases analyzed, an optimum number of plants, which minimized the environmental impacts, was found. This work illustrates the importance of considering the number of industrial plants in the production design, not only from an economic aspect but also from an environmental point of view. Ó 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

1. Introduction The European Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of biofuels (i.e. biodiesel and bioethanol) for transport, established a substitution corresponding to 10% of biofuels in the total consumption by the year 2020 (EC, 2009). The near complete dependence of the transportation sector on oil products generates concerns on supply security and on climate change. Currently, there is an emerging interest in replacing fossil feedstock by biomass-based raw materials. Since the use of biodiesel must be increased, leading to significant opportunities in the market, it is important to evaluate the environmental loads associated to its production. As reported (Blottnitz von and Curran, 2007), moving towards sustainability requires a re-thinking of our systems of production. Biodiesel is a diesel fuel defined as the mono-alkyl esters of vegetable oils or animal fats. It is recommended as a substitute for petroleum-based diesel mainly because it is a renewable fuel, with an environmentally friendly emission profile and is readily biodegradable. The use of biodiesel as a fuel has been widely investigated

* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ34 985 103439; fax: þ34 985 103434. E-mail address: (M. Díaz). 0959-6526/$ e see front matter Ó 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

(Sheehan et al., 1998; Ma and Hanna, 1999; Srivastava and Prasad, 2000; Fukuda et al., 2001; Dorado et al., 2003; Knothe et al., 2003). Compared to petroleum-based diesel, the high cost of biodiesel is the major barrier to its commercialization. Its cost, which is approximately one and a half times that of petroleum-based diesel, depends on feedstock oils (Zhang et al., 2003). It is reported that approximately 70e95% of the total biodiesel production cost arises from the cost of raw material, that is, vegetable oil or animal fats (Connemann and Fischer, 1998; Kulkarni and Dalai, 2006; Helwani et al., 2009). Moreover, it should be considered that arable land is a scarce resource in most of Europe (Ponton, 2009). Waste cooking oil (WCO) is a domestic waste generated as the result of cooking and frying food with edible vegetable oil. WCO has been identified as an alternative source of fatty materials for the production of biofuels (Canakci and Van Gerpen, 2003). WCO and fats produce significant disposal problems in many parts of the world. The growing problem of wastes affects the daily lives of millions of people (Dovi et al., 2009). This environmental problem could be solved by proper utilization and management of WCO to enable it to be used as a fuel. Many developed countries have set policies that penalize the disposal of WCO in the waste drainage (Kulkarni and Dalai, 2006). The estimated amount of WCO collected in Europe is about 700,000e100,000 tons/year (Supple et al., 2002; Kulkarni and Dalai, 2006). The amount of WCO collected in

As reported by Gwehenberger et al. System description and boundaries The scenarios analyzed in this work were the results of combining defined territories (hypothetical and real territories) with different degrees of centralization of production. 2. the raw material used and the size of the production facilities. 50 kg of biodiesel).000 km2 and between 21. 2. Similarly. when using RSO. Lindfors et al. Another positive aspect is that a small.047. 1. As endorsed by the scientific community. the utility of small biodiesel plants and their distribution zone is currently being evaluated. A decentralization of the production would lead to transport savings. Although biodiesel production has followed the example of the oil industry (by investing in big centralized facilities). 2012).000 tons per year. so the functional unit chosen in this work was the amount of biodiesel needed to cover 1000 km in a standard diesel engine vehicle (i... comparing centralized production with a fragmented distribution of plants closer to the supply and consumption points. just as the demand for biodiesel. this strategy is being questioned owing to the simplicity of the biodiesel production process. the investment had good financial results provided that the raw materials were kept in acceptable prices and biodiesel sales were ensured in the local market. Biodiesel production from sunflower oil. 2. Biodiesel is mainly used as transportation biofuel. the hypothetical territories were considered to have a square geometry and their area and seed production varying between 94. the viability of a small-scale biodiesel plant (10. these aspects have hardly been considered for biodiesel production from a LCA perspective. the lower the production costs. 2004.1. comparing centralization/decentralization alternatives for a production process. since biodiesel production does not require high technology or great economic investment (Bernesson et al. however. WCO. Nevertheless. an important point in many countries’ economies. Another relevant point is related to the distribution of the production plants. comparing centralized and decentralized distribution and the zone distribution of the plants.. The conclusion obtained was that. Methodology In this study. from waste cooking oils (WCO). together with the process. The degree of centralization of biodiesel production implies economic but also environmental impacts. comparing the environmental burdens associated with small. 2005. 2009). 2. this study aims to assess and quantify the environmental impacts of biodiesel produced from raw sunflower oil (RSO). whereas big wastes sites would be the best option in terms of economy and total GHG emissions. LCA methodology has been applied in this study to assess and quantify the environmental impacts of biodiesel production from RSO and from WCO. Location of production plants in hypothetical territories (indicated by black dots). have been done for other systems. Thus.. among others (Bernesson et al. Results obtained showed that the decentralized sanitation scenario had a significant advantage in terms of the reduced contribution to the damage of ecosystem quality.. Therefore. 2007. The centralized system consisted of one production plant Fig. (2007). their capacity and physical location. decentralized facility does not require highly specialized staff and offers greater opportunities for rural development.1.2.1.. For biodiesel production based on RSO. 2004). As shown. By using LCA methodology.000 and 940. and the use of different production methods or different raw materials.. locally. allowing quantification of energy and materials as well as waste and emissions released to the environment (Consoli et al.000 ton/ year) has been analyzed in detail in terms of its design and operation.or large-scale production. including general studies. that this statement is less clear with regard to environmental concerns (Gwehenberger et al.. 1995). and alternatively. 2008).2.1. Both sunflower production points and biodiesel consumption points were considered to be homogeneously spread through the considered territory. a comparative LCA was used to assess the potential reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in small dumping places as opposed to big centralized wastes sites (Shabbir. as raw materials. Kim and Bruce. Iglesias et al. Recently. in terms of transport. biodiesel can be obtained from different raw materials on a small scale. although it is expected that it would also lead to losses related to the energetic efficiency of the production process. Niederl-Schmidinger and Narodoslawsky.200 and 1. LCA methodology is used as a tool for the comparative evaluation of centralized production and different degrees of decentralization. 2. Both centralized and decentralized production have been analyzed in these territories (Fig. It should be noted. estimating capital investment and operational costs (Skarlis et al. LCA is one of the best methodologies for assessing the environmental burdens associated with biofuels production.L.e. The trend with regard to economic factors is that the higher the production capacity of a plant. 4 and 9 plants). 2009) the study focused on the advantages and disadvantages of the decentralized Ecological Sanitation Systems. Recently. Harding et al. the dominant aspects influencing their ecological impact are. Previous studies. according to different levels of decentralization (1. Unlike fossil fuels. In the case of sewage treatment plants (Benetto et al.1. in comparison with the traditional centralized systems. a number of studies have been focussed on LCA approaches related to biodiesel. in hypothetical and real territories.1. comparisons with conventional diesel. by using RSO and alternatively. . small centralized wastes sites would be the best option. 2007). / Journal of Cleaner Production 37 (2012) 162e171 163 a territory is proportional to the number of inhabitants. 1). Objectives and functional unit definition The goal of this work is to compare different options for biodiesel production (centralized/decentralized) in specific territories (hypothetical and real territories) from an environmental perspective. Goal and scope definition 2. 1993.

with 79. phosphatides and waxes contained in the oil are removed in order to obtain the refined oil. 2007). Iglesias et al. while the oil obtained is decanted and centrifuged to remove impurities and to continue to the next production stage.09 kg of waste oil is needed (54. 2. 2b (the plants were located taking into account the areas with greater sunflower crops. of which. peeling. . Fisheries and Food) of which 71% was domestic use. 30% is collected for recycling.164 L. Biodiesel production was calculated considering that 2. 4a). plus the option of splitting the production between two biodiesel plants in those provinces where the amount of collected oil was over 1000 tons per year (Fig. producing a mixture of fatty acid alkyl esters (biodiesel) and glycerin. fatty acids. data from the 2007e2008 season).2.000 tons per year (source: Spanish Ministry of Environment. Rural and Marine Environs.000 tons/year in 2004 (source: Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. Production stages. The next stage is the transesterification reaction converting the oil into biofuel by reaction of the triglyceride with an alcohol (methanol) in the presence of a catalyst. / Journal of Cleaner Production 37 (2012) 162e171 which obtained the raw material (sunflowers seeds) from the whole territory and distributed the produced biodiesel to biodiesel stations spread homogenously throughout the same territory.000 tons per year. Based on this data and considering that in order to produce 1 kg of biodiesel about 1. The initial stage. Firstly. The prepared seeds pass through a series of rotating screws. which is mixed into the paste.000 tons per year.000 and 506. The decentralization scheme of plants in Spain was carried out as follows. the total biodiesel production in Spain from WCO would be 40. a decentralized system with five plants was considered. Biodiesel production from waste cooking oils. Similarly. drying by air blown at base pressure and bleaching using calcium bentonite. or from this place to the other provinces. Decentralized systems consisted of a number of biodiesel plants spread through a territory. Finally. The amount of raw material which could be provided to produce biodiesel can be estimated as being 43. Thus. Decentralized systems consisted of a number of biodiesel plants spread through the considered territory. glycerin.2. the case in which each province had its own biodiesel processing plant (50) was analyzed. The area and hypothetical scenarios for the collection of waste oil varied between 94. where oil consumption was 895. which was divided in different areas. This milling process does not extract all the oil in the seed. bleaching and dewaxing are performed. 26% hotel use and 3% use by institutions. and then. in order to calculate the transportation distances to the biodiesel stations. the insular territories (Canary Islands and Balearic Islands) were also considered for the study. The crude methyl ester is washed to remove traces of methanol. it was considered that the number of stations in each territory depended on its population and on the usual amount of biodiesel served per year in a biodiesel station (150e400 m3 yearÀ1). 16% is cooked. The number of biodiesel stations has been calculated by taking into consideration the total production of biodiesel and the volume of biofuel usually served per year by stations of average size. was not included in this work since this was a common step to all the centralized and decentralized systems analyzed here. The centralized system consisted of one production plant which obtained the raw material (WCO) from all territories and distributed the produced biodiesel to biodiesel stations through the considered territory. so raw material (oils) and biodiesel were considered to be transported to.96 kg of biodiesel (52.3. Crude oils are subjected to a refining process where neutralization and degumming. The degree of decentralization has been analyzed in different scenarios.4 kg of sunflower seeds produces 1 kg of RSO. Spain (considering only the peninsular territory) with an area corresponding to 493. Firstly. so the resulting paste is treated with the solvent hexane. in the case of Spain. where they are crushed and pressed.518 km2 and a total seed production of 703. the number of inhabitants in each province was taken into account (Table 1). In the case of the Castilla-La Mancha territory. where the second phase of the process is carried out. comprising: planting. stations have been distributed heterogeneously throughout the peninsular territory taking into account the population of each province (more inhabitants demand more fuel). the Castilla-La Mancha region (located in the centre of Spain). For this reason. yielding 0. In this case. which according to various LCA studies is responsible for the greatest environmental impact. It has been reported that bio-based systems have possible ecological drawbacks since agricultural production of biomass is relatively land intensive. At this stage. and secondly. oil extraction. treatment with different pesticides and plant collection. biodiesel stations have been homogenously distributed throughout this region. with the objective of saving costs in seed transport).0 kg of sunflower seeds are needed per FU). hypothetical territories were considered with a square geometry and homogeneous oil collection and biodiesel distribution. two real territories were chosen. Centralized and decentralized production have been considered in these territories. dividing the peninsular territory into four zones and placing a plant in the Canary Islands. includes the entire life cycle of the plant. For biofuel distribution in real territories. the hexane is condensed and separated from the water to be reused in the process.2. On the other hand.000 km2 and between 2365 and 430.000 tons/year. a further system of 20 zones (19 in the mainland and one in the Canary Islands). The next system that was analyzed examined a degree of decentralization of 11 zones (10 in the mainland and one in the Canary Islands). since oil collection and biodiesel distribution will depend on the number of inhabitants of each zone.000 km2 and a seed production of 137. The location of the plants according to the different levels of centralization in the territory of Spain (peninsular territory) is shown in Fig. the environmental loads associated with the use of biodiesel have not been taken into account. Of the oil consumed in Spain. 2a. effects of growing sunflower either on soil or on emissions released were not considered. which is divided in different areas. catalyst. The biodiesel production system from RSO could be divided in different stages (Fig. Each plant obtained the raw material (sunflower seeds) and distributed the produced biodiesel throughout its corresponding area. The territory chosen was Spain. (not considered in the inventory) and then dried to obtain biodiesel. fertilizing. the first stage taken into account in this study is the transportation of seeds to the production plant. for biodiesel production based on WCO. The location of the different plants according to the level of decentralization in the Castilla-La Mancha region is shown in Fig. in the case of real scenarios. 3). since they do not have any influence on the comparative study of different degrees of centralization in the production system. 2.1. biofuel is distributed to the different stations for sale. etc.000 tons/year. once used. both hypothetical and also in the real territory. Once all the oil has been obtained. When the analyzed scenarios corresponded to real cases. the agricultural phase. This phase. Finally. and there is a risk of pollutants entering water sources from fertilisers and pesticides that are applied to the land to enhance plant growth (Blottnitz von and Curran. The seeds are subjected to a process of washing. Then. a centralized system with a sole biodiesel production plant located in Madrid was analyzed. the geometry was irregular and oil collection and biodiesel distribution were heterogeneous. To determine the amount of WCO collected in each region.1.0 kg of RSO and 125.5 kf of WCO are needed per FU). In this study. that is.

5 and 10 plants) b) Spain (peninsular territory) (1. The solid-free oil is . the differences depending mainly on the size of the extraction. refining and transesterification plants. 2. according to different levels of decentralization: a) Castilla. Location of production plants in real territories (indicated by black dots).L. The used oil is transported to the treatment plant where it is unloaded and passed through a mesh to remove any solid residue.La Mancha region (1. / Journal of Cleaner Production 37 (2012) 162e171 165 Fig. the first stage in the life cycle is collecting the used cooking oil (Fig. 4b). When using WCO as raw material. Iglesias et al. 4. when using RSO. 6. The phases described are common to all systems. and the transportation distances of seeds and biodiesel. 11 and 20 plants).

Biodiesel production from sunflower oil as raw material The total environmental effect of the production process of biodiesel from RSO was assessed. The quality of the oil received from the pre-treatment plant is defined by its acidity.875 584.430. expressed in grams of free acid per 100 g of oil.933 848 Mallorca 1. organic respiratory effects.059.840. 1960). upon considering the whole production process (except for the agricultural phase).055 1735 Córdoba 784.593. It has been highlighted that most current publications regarding the environmental performance analyses of agricultural-based biofuels published focus on GHG emissions but exclude other important impact factors (Reinhard and Zah. Life cycle inventory (LCI) and impact assessment (LCIA) In the inventory phase.715 781.064.083 373 Cáceres 406.171 307.424 1460 Almería 672.C.619 634 Granada 898.411 6.986 1349 Huelva 500.315 383 Badajoz 673. acidification/eutrophication.015 1058 327 309 888 5890 999 541 1074 653 290 576 296 209 886 137 5042 737 400 678 551 2358 1760 456 161 344 L.245.681 218 Toledo 646. the explanations for these contradictory results regarding the sustainability of biofuels in the GHG performance have been considered as due to differences in local conditions and in the design of the specific production systems. 2010). wash water (with free fatty acids and methanol) and glycerine are obtained. taking into account each impact category considered in the method. 2.529 5. 2010) and software resources to evaluate the transport distances.651 328 Ávila 169. Sanz Requena et al. 2011).121. inorganic respiratory effects. The fatty acids obtained are fed back into the transesterification stage for increased production of biodiesel. water pollution and water depletion (Borjesson and Tufvesson. it should be noted that they often present contradictory results related to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. characterization is the next step in an impact assessment. In addition.000 pumped into settling tanks where oil temperature is increased to 60  C. data corresponding to real plants of a specific size have been extrapolated to plants of different sizes using the Williams method (Williams.772 221.. Comparison of the different distribution of biodiesel production was performed with the LCA software package SimaPro v7.. and/or different calculation methods and systems boundaries (Borjesson and Tufvesson. Considering that equipment cost is directly proportional to its water and energy consumption. Methanol is directed into a rectification column where it separates from water.548. Tenerife 997. 2010).668 998 S. and reduction of the ozone layer).279 492 Segovia 161. As an example.706 145. In order to obtain the water and energy consumption for each considered plant. which makes it possible to calculate the cost of a set of equipment taking into account the cost of equipment with similar characteristics but different production capacity. These methodologies include the impact categories in three types of damage: damage to human health (including the following categories of impacts: carcinogenesis.079 692. The weighing method used means that the result obtained with this method is expressed as a single ecoindicator score (as ecopoints). 2006.274 160 Guadalajara 231. 2009)..1.166 Table 1 Estimated oil collected in Spain in 2004 per provinces.058. The units in which values are expressed are points (Bare et al. impact on biodiversity.. otherwise transesterification is the next step.797 740 Jaén 655.065 423.. and land use) and resources damage (including minerals and fossil fuels) (Blottnitz von and Curran.834 1. Briefly. Characterization factors translate different inventory inputs and outputs into directly comparable impact indicators.813 718. This step associates the magnitude of the potential impacts of each inventory flow with its corresponding environmental impact.692 1137 Málaga 1. In both cases it is considered that glycerin is sold as a co-product and the main wastes generated during the production process are sent to landfill. Iglesias et al. Finally.835 43. climate change. to be recovered and reused in the transesterification stage.013 152 Salamanca 347. Results and discussion 3.455 2.05/Europe EI 99 H/A methodology which belongs to the LCIA damage-oriented methodologies or endpoint methodologies in ISO terminology. information is gathered as inputs and outputs (emissions) for all the processes involved in the system under study. is considered as a waste so its collection has no impact and its recycling prevents carbon emission (2. the produced biodiesel is distributed to biodiesel stations to be used by consumers. this formula.842 346.384 313. The inputs and outputs for each of the stages have been obtained from different sources: bibliographic sources in the case of data related to the production process stages (Lechón et al.203 610. esterification is the selected process.945 486 Albacete 395.2.412 184 Valladolid 521. Sanz Requena et al.68). In this work.781 170.139. before being collected and conditioned.965 365. WCO.205. After these processes.151 1004 Total (Spain) 45. ionizing radiation. 2003).045 618 Cádiz 1.348 941 Las Palmas 1. energy efficiency. which uses the available information related to a real plant of a specific size. After the inventory. 2003. which represents the magnitude of the impact of different processes that compose the LCA of biofuel production and shows how this impact is distributed in each category. using the Eco-indicator 99 (H) V2. Provinces La Coruña Lugo Orense Pontevedra Madrid Oviedo Santander Vizcaya Guipúzcoa Álava Pamplona Logroño Huesca Zaragoza Teruel Barcelona Tarragona Lérida Gerona Castellón Valencia Alicante León Palencia Burgos Inhabitants Oil collected Provinces (tons/year) 1. When acidity exceeds 4%. has been used to calculate the water and energy consumption of a plant of the same nature but with different capacity.758 1.064 88 Zamora 194. the outcome of the Ecoindicator 99 damage modelling for environmental impacts is a human health damage score expressed as Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) and an ecosystem quality damage score expressed as Potentially Disappeared Fraction (PDF).089 573. The oil is separated from water by decanting and transferred to the final storage tank to be used as feedstock in biodiesel production.277 483. / Journal of Cleaner Production 37 (2012) 162e171 I2 ¼ I1 ðq2 =q1 ÞM Inhabitants Oil collected (tons/year) (1) Soria 93. Databases employed in this work are indicated in Table 2.8 kg CO2/kg oil). The consumption of raw materials and products generation were assumed to be directly proportional to the capacity of the plant. Characterization is completed with a weighting. 2011). the most heavily affected impact .. q is the production capacity and I is the value of the equipment. Where M is the correlation coefficient (0.499.104 609 Cuenca 213.883 1. Sanz Requena et al.410 635 Murcia 1. 2007. 3.396 939.346.866.759 328.086 941.043 471 Sevilla 1. where one ecopoint can be interpreted as one thousandth of the annual environmental load of one average European inhabitant (Dreyer et al.830 202 Ciudad Real 514. damage to ecosystem quality (ecotoxicity.

For the bigger territory.000 km2.1.. according to the different levels of decentralization (1. categories in the system turned out to be fossil fuels and respiratory inorganics. especially in the case of centralized production. 5. As shown.000 tons of biodiesel per year in a territory of 94. an area of 94.1. Location of production plants in Spain (indicated by black dots). The components responsible for these environmental burdens were the extraction of refined oil. increased or decreased levels of production were considered. methanol used as raw material. Hypothetically. Fig.1. due to the increase in fuel consumption for transportation of raw materials and biodiesel. the environmental impact increased with decentralization. 2. Fig. it can be observed that when the surface area of the territory considered increased. to assess the environmental impacts of the different biodiesel systems (considering 1. As shown. 6a is the single score graph obtained when different levels of centralization were compared for a production of 54. 3.2. In this case.1. Hypothetical territories Firstly. the environmental impact increased. 3. although it was observed that there was a minimum impact when the production was divided into 4 plants. in a square geometry territory with a biodiesel production of 84. 5c shows the results when different levels of centralization were compared for a production of 8400 tons of biodiesel per year in a territory of 94. the environmental impact related to the produced fuel would be smaller as the production capacities increase and decentralization decreases. 5b represents the single score graph obtained when different levels of centralization were compared for a production of 419. for a given area.1. Effect of variation in area. indicating that increased efficiency of larger plants usually reduces not only the operational costs but also the ecological impacts (Gwehenberger et al. 50 and 60 production plants).2.1. Fig.800 tons of .1.1. 5a and d are compared. Effect of variation in production. 5d shows the single score graph obtained when different levels of centralization were compared for a production of 84.800 tons of biodiesel per year in a territory of 940. the impact was independent of the degree of decentralization. 3. hypothetical territories were taken into account (modifying production capacity and area). Application to real cases Fig. 4 and 9 production plants). for territories with the same area but different production capacities.L.000 km2 and homogeneous distribution. 3. 5a shows the single score graph when different levels of centralization were compared. / Journal of Cleaner Production 37 (2012) 162e171 167 Fig.000 tons per year. If Fig.000 km2. a hypothetically increased area was considered. for a given production capacity.000 km2. 3. 2007). when using WCO. transportation and energy consumption. Iglesias et al. These results agree with previously reported results. Fig. 20. 11.

until a point of inflection was reached where the impact began to increase again. Table 2 Data based used in LCIA.000 tons per year and a territory surface of 94. Units correspond to points (Pt). Energy Electricity Natural gas Water Transport Chemical products NaOH HCl H3PO4 CH4O Bentonite Fig. 2009). The increased production of biofuels could merely shift or even increase the environmental impacts currently related to the production and use of fossil fuels. maximising the . c) for a biodiesel production of 8400 tons per year and a territory surface of 94. in the case of the whole Spanish peninsular territory. In the case of Castilla-La Mancha. It has been reported (Reinhard and Zah. Iglesias et al. It has been also reported (Upham et al. 4. based on the single score graph it can be seen that a decentralized system for biodiesel production would have a greater environmental impact than a centralized system. Fig. 2009) that the problem of land-use change lends weight for slowing the incentivisation of ‘first-generation’ biofuel production. / Journal of Cleaner Production 37 (2012) 162e171 a SUNFLOWER CROPS 1) SeedsTransport 2) Extraction of crude oil 3) Refining of oil 4) Transesterification 5) Biodiesel purification PRODUCTION PLANT 6) Biodiesel Transport BIODIESEL STATIONS b OIL CONSUMERS 1) Oil collection and transport 2) Pre-treatment 3) Transesterification 4) Biodiesel purification RECYCLING PLANT 5) Biodiesel Transport BIODIESEL STATIONS Fig.000 km2. 5. biodiesel per year in Castilla-La Mancha (surface area of 79. Single score graphs showing the environmental impact of hypothetical systems (using RSO) with 1. availability of arable land has been considered. redirecting support to ‘second-generation’ research and development. 2009) that an increase in agro-biofuel consumption would have consequences such as competition with food production. unless biofuels production is decoupled from the global food and feed markets (by using biogenic waste or non-edible energy crops that grow specifically on degraded land) (Reinhard and Zah. 2. 6b is the single score graph obtained when different levels of centralization were compared for a production of 281.000 km2). and an optimum level of decentralization appeared.200 tons of biodiesel per year in Spain (area 493.000 km2.000 tons per year and a territory area of 94.000 km2.168 L.000 km2 and d) for a biodiesel production of 84. On the contrary.000 tons per year and a territory surface of 940. At this point.. the number of production plants was approximately 6. the environmental impact decreased as decentralization increased. ETH-ESU 96 Ecoinvent Ecoinvent Ecoinvent BUWAL 250 BUWAL 250 IDEMA 2001 Ecoinvent ETH-ESU 96 In this work. fostering intensification and endangering natural areas. 4 and 9 production plants: a) for a biodiesel production of 84. b) for a biodiesel production of 419.518 km2). Stages of the biodiesel production process a) from RSO and b) from WCO.

Single score graphs showing the environmental impact of real systems (using RSO) with different numbers of production plants: a) Castilla-La Mancha region (1. 3. In the case of bioethanol. When the production and area increased.5 Spain (WCO) 1 Numberof production plants: 1 5 11 20 50 60 0. As shown.. / Journal of Cleaner Production 37 (2012) 162e171 169 a 1. 3. on a case-by-case basis. A production of 40. 2.000 km2 and a biodiesel production of 40. 5. 2. Real territory Fig.. Pt 0 Fossil fuels Ecotoxicity Radiation Land use 0 Minerals Fossil fuels Ecotoxicity Radiation Land use Minerals . 9. 7a.5 3. organics Carcinogens Climate change Acidification/ Eutrophication Ozone layer -0. the best option turned out to be decentralized production (in this case. centralized production tuned out to be the best option.2. inorganics Resp. 40. into 18 plants). 3. 6.2. 2007) highlighted that logistical factors may become increasingly important.5 Pt Resp. beneficial to the environment). Weighting graph that shows the environmental impact of systems (using WCO) with different numbers of production plants: a) for a hypothetical territory of 94. 11 and 20 plants). 7b. Effect of increased production and area. and results are shown in Fig. Units correspond to points (Pt). 6. in this case. 20 and 50 plants). 506. 5 and 10 plants) and b) Spain (1. and.000 km 2 Numberof production plants: 1 2 4 6 0. 4 and 6 plants). 7.2.5 c Fig. only used cooking oil has guaranteed sustainability benefits among the feedstocks examined (for which the UK Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation supplies default carbon intensity values). the production of biodiesel from WCO collected throughout the Spanish territory is less harmful to the environment when some degree of decentralization is undertaken. previous research (Gwehenberger et al. Biodiesel production from WCO as raw material The impact categories most affected during the production process turned out to be fossil fuels. 11. which is mainly due to the fact that for decentralization. inorganics Resp.5 1 Hypothetical systems (WCO).000 km2). 7c represents the weighting graph where different levels of centralization were compared for a production of 40. Units correspond to points (Pt). as this does not prejudice soil quality.2. so in the WCO production process the impact on the climate change category is negative (i. it has been reported (Blottnitz von and Curran.000tons.000 km2 has been considered in the results shown in Fig. This weighting graph compares different levels of decentralization (1. inorganic pollutant emissions and climate change (see Fig.1.000km 2 1 Numberof production plants: 1 6 9 18 36 0. As reported (Upham et al.1. 2011).000 tons of biodiesel per year in Spain (506. 4 and 6 plants).000 tons per year (1. 18 and 36 plants) and c) for Spain (1. the location of a plant in the Canary Fossil fuels Ecotoxicity Radiation Land use Minerals use of bio-wastes.000 tons of biodiesel per year in a hypothetical territory of Fig. 94. inorganics Resp.000 km2 and a biodiesel production of 2200 tons per year (1. results will differ depending on how efficiently wastes are used and how the industrial systems are configured. In a similar way to this case.5 Pt 0 Resp. A significant reduction in impact was observed when moving from a centralized to a decentralized system. organics Carcinogens Climate change Acidification/ Eutrophication Ozone layer -0. as can be observed. carbon dioxide emissions should be considered.5 b 1. -1 1.2. although it is far from clear that biofuel production at the large scale demanded would be environmentally or socially benign.e. energy efficiency have been reported as a precondition for diverting cellulosic residues (Rethabile and von Blottnitz. It should be noted that when used frying oil is disposed of as a waste.1. Hypothetical territories A production of 2200 tons of biodiesel per year in a hypothetical territory of 94. Obviously. 4. In relation to biofuels of second generation. 2. organics Carcinogens Climate change Acidification/ Eutrophication Ozone layer -0. 506.L. this means that total impacts associated with biodiesel production from WCO are much lower than those associated with biodiesel production from RSO. 7). Iglesias et al. leading to situations where the expected economy of scale and the environmental impact of scale are in contradiction. 2007) that when it is made from a waste product.5 Resp. 6.5 -1 Hypothetical systems (WCO). 2009).200 tons. b) for a hypothetical territory of 506.000 km2 has been considered.

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