Screening Life Cycle Assessment of Jatropha Biodiesel
Jatropha, Jatropha curcas L., also called physic nut, is a shrub from the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) found in subtropical and tropical habitats around the world. Growing even in dry climates on poor degraded soils where food production is not possible, Jatropha has the advantage of not competing against food or fodder production on this land. Jatropha produces oleiferous seeds. The oil from the Jatropha seed is very well suited for technical purposes and can be processed further, for example to Jatropha biodiesel.
Within this project, ifeu was commissioned by Daimler AG to evaluate the environmental impacts of using this promising plant for biofuels. For this purpose, a so-called screening life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to compare the environmental impacts of Jatropha biodiesel to those of conventional diesel fuel along the entire life cycles. This screening LCA covers a number of environmental impact categories such as energy consumption, greenhouse effect, acidification, eutrophication, summer smog and ozone-depleting nitrous oxide emissions. ifeu's evaluation covers the existing pilot plant in India as well as decentralised and centralised options to process Jatropha oil, allowing for the deduction of general results that are valid in other parts of the world.