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Assessing the sustainability of Brazilian oleaginous crops - possible raw material to produce biodiesel


  • Takahashi, Fábio
  • Ortega, Enrique


The aim of this paper is to make an emergy assessment of oleaginous crops cultivated in Brazil, available to produce biodiesel, in order to determine which crop is the most sustainable. This study evaluates conventional agro-chemical farms that produce rapeseed (canola), oil palm, soybean, sunflower and cotton. Rapeseed (canola) crop uses 40.41% of renewable energy and it is the most sustainable conventional oil crop; on the other hand, it is not widely produced in Brazil, probably due to climate restrictions or low market demand. The oil palm emergy indicators are contradictory: its emergy exchange ratio (EER) value is the lower, showing the possibility of fair exchange, and the low transformity value indicates high efficiency; however, it also has low renewability (28.31%), indicating a high dependency on agro-chemicals (basically fertilizers). Oil palm is a potential energy source due to its high agricultural productivity, but appropriate management is necessary to increase its sustainability and reduce the use of non-renewable resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Takahashi, Fábio & Ortega, Enrique, 2010. "Assessing the sustainability of Brazilian oleaginous crops - possible raw material to produce biodiesel," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 2446-2454, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:5:p:2446-2454

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sharma, Y.C. & Singh, B., 2009. "Development of biodiesel: Current scenario," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(6-7), pages 1646-1651, August.
    2. Escobar, José C. & Lora, Electo S. & Venturini, Osvaldo J. & Yáñez, Edgar E. & Castillo, Edgar F. & Almazan, Oscar, 2009. "Biofuels: Environment, technology and food security," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(6-7), pages 1275-1287, August.
    3. Yee, Kian Fei & Tan, Kok Tat & Abdullah, Ahmad Zuhairi & Lee, Keat Teong, 2009. "Life cycle assessment of palm biodiesel: Revealing facts and benefits for sustainability," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(Supplemen), pages 189-196, November.
    4. Reijnders, L., 2006. "Conditions for the sustainability of biomass based fuel use," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 863-876, May.
    5. Lora, E.S. & Andrade, R.V., 2009. "Biomass as energy source in Brazil," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 777-788, May.
    6. repec:eee:ecomod:v:210:y:2008:i:1:p:37-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Pousa, Gabriella P.A.G. & Santos, Andre L.F. & Suarez, Paulo A.Z., 2007. "History and policy of biodiesel in Brazil," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5393-5398, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gasparatos, Alexandros, 2011. "Resource consumption in Japanese agriculture and its link to food security," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1101-1112, March.
    2. Spinelli, D. & Jez, S. & Pogni, R. & Basosi, R., 2013. "Environmental and life cycle analysis of a biodiesel production line from sunflower in the Province of Siena (Italy)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 492-506.
    3. Saladini, Fabrizio & Patrizi, Nicoletta & Pulselli, Federico M. & Marchettini, Nadia & Bastianoni, Simone, 2016. "Guidelines for emergy evaluation of first, second and third generation biofuels," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 221-227.
    4. Avinash, A. & Subramaniam, D. & Murugesan, A., 2014. "Bio-diesel—A global scenario," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 517-527.
    5. Watanabe, Kassia & Bijman, Jos & Slingerland, Maja, 2012. "Institutional arrangements in the emerging biodiesel industry: Case studies from Minas Gerais—Brazil," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 381-389.


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