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