Environmental comparison of RME and rapeseed oil

The project compares the environmental performance of the bioenergy carriers rapeseed oil and rapeseed oil methyl ester (RME). Both the range of applications for arising by-products and other parameters with a potential influence on results are considered. Among those are

  • Application of the by-product rapeseed meal as high-protein animal feed or as a fuel for energy production
  • Application of the by-product glycerine from RME production as a precursor for the chemical industry or as a fuel for energy production
  • Different degrees of refinery for rapeseed oil
  • Centralised rapeseed oil extraction in an oil mill versus local oil extraction at farms
  • Different options for use (vehicle fuel versus fuel for stationary facilities like heat or combined heat and power plants)

For this purpose, the entire life cycles from cradle to grave are modelled for both bioenergy carriers and their respective fossil equivalents, i.e. diesel and heating oil. A total of six different environmental impacts was analysed in accordance with Life Cycle Analysis ISO 14040/44.



January 2000 – December 2001


Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Nutrition, and Agriculture


Executive Summary (German only, PDF Format, 367 kB)

Further content: