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Transition towards a more environmentally sustainable biodiesel in South America: The case of Chile


  • Iriarte, Alfredo
  • Rieradevall, Joan
  • Gabarrell, Xavier


This study uses a site-specific life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental profile and energy and water demand of potential production options for rapeseed biodiesel in Chile. The first step is the analysis of the biodiesel supply chain in a standard scenario, associated with the most likely production conditions. The second step is the evaluation of the following alternative scenarios related to a production strategy involving low-impact or renewable resources: (1) Addition of livestock manure as organic fertilizer, (2) Use of degraded grassland, (3) Biodiesel transport by rail, and (4) Use of forest residues for industrial steam. The results show that the biodiesel in the standard scenario has less environmental impacts than fossil diesel in 4 of the 13 indicators evaluated. The rapeseed production is the stage with the highest contribution to impacts. The scenario 1 presents the best environmental profile. The scenario 2 reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of biodiesel. The scenarios 3 and 4 moderately improve the profile of the biofuel. The four situations could be implemented in the short term, but should be backed up by economic and social studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Iriarte, Alfredo & Rieradevall, Joan & Gabarrell, Xavier, 2012. "Transition towards a more environmentally sustainable biodiesel in South America: The case of Chile," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 263-273.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:91:y:2012:i:1:p:263-273
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2011.09.024

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    2. Su, Chia-Hung, 2013. "Recoverable and reusable hydrochloric acid used as a homogeneous catalyst for biodiesel production," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 503-509.
    3. Malça, João & Coelho, António & Freire, Fausto, 2014. "Environmental life-cycle assessment of rapeseed-based biodiesel: Alternative cultivation systems and locations," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 837-844.
    4. Zimmer, Tobias & Rudi, Andreas & Müller, Ann-Kathrin & Fröhling, Magnus & Schultmann, Frank, 2017. "Modeling the impact of competing utilization paths on biomass-to-liquid (BtL) supply chains," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 208(C), pages 954-971.
    5. Avinash, A. & Subramaniam, D. & Murugesan, A., 2014. "Bio-diesel—A global scenario," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 517-527.
    6. de Souza, T.A.Z. & Pinto, G.M. & Julio, A.A.V. & Coronado, C.J.R. & Perez-Herrera, R. & Siqueira, B.O.P.S. & da Costa, R.B.R. & Roberts, J.J. & Palacio, J.C.E., 2022. "Biodiesel in South American countries: A review on policies, stages of development and imminent competition with hydrotreated vegetable oil," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    7. Iriarte, Alfredo & Villalobos, Pablo, 2013. "Greenhouse gas emissions and energy balance of sunflower biodiesel: Identification of its key factors in the supply chain," Resources, Conservation & Recycling, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 46-52.
    8. Rodríguez-Monroy, Carlos & Mármol-Acitores, Gloria & Nilsson-Cifuentes, Gabriel, 2018. "Electricity generation in Chile using non-conventional renewable energy sources – A focus on biomass," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 81(P1), pages 937-945.
    9. Živković, Snežana B. & Veljković, Milan V. & Banković-Ilić, Ivana B. & Krstić, Ivan M. & Konstantinović, Sandra S. & Ilić, Slavica B. & Avramović, Jelena M. & Stamenković, Olivera S. & Veljković, Vlad, 2017. "Technological, technical, economic, environmental, social, human health risk, toxicological and policy considerations of biodiesel production and use," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 222-247.
    10. Silva-Martínez, Rodolfo Daniel & Sanches-Pereira, Alessandro & Ortiz, Willington & Gómez Galindo, Maria Fernanda & Coelho, Suani Teixeira, 2020. "The state-of-the-art of organic waste to energy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Challenges and opportunities," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 509-525.

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