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Life cycle assessments applied to first generation biofuels used in France

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The LCA study about the biofuels consumed in France represents the first national expertise at this scale of evaluation. It can deliver not only an update as complete as possible in the energy balances and emissions of greenhouse gases from biofuels, but also to have an evaluation of three less[…]  Plus de détails

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Auteurs ADEME, Ministère de l'écologie de l'énergie du développement durable et de la mer, Ministère de l'agriculture de l'agroalimentaire et de la forêt, FRANCE AGRIMER
Public(s) Secteur public
Entreprises et fédérations professionnelles
Collectivités territoriales
Agriculture et Forêt
Thématique Energies renouvelables, réseaux et stockage
Consommer autrement
Collection Hors collection
Date d'édition 2010/02
Type de document Étude
Nb. de pages 35 P + 229 P + 90 P
Format pdf/A4
Langue EN

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The LCA study about the biofuels consumed in France represents the first national expertise at this scale of evaluation. It can deliver not only an update as complete as possible in the energy balances and emissions of greenhouse gases from biofuels, but also to have an evaluation of three less studied impact indicators (eutrophication potential, photo -oxidation potential, human toxicity potential).

It addressed the following pathways:

  • ethanol from wheat, corn, sugar beet and sugar cane, as well as corresponding ETBE
  • vegetable oil methyl esters from rapeseed, sunflower, soybean and palm, methyl esters from animal fat and used cooking oil
  • Pure vegetable oil from rapeseed

This work significantly clarifies our knowledge of first generation biofuels and highlights the extreme complexity of the evaluation process of energy balance and environmental well-to-wheel ", the first generation biofuels.

In a general manner, without considering the potential effects of land use change, biofuels produced in France present energy balances and emissions of greenhouse gases are more favourable than those of fossil fuels reference (Diesel and gasoline).

The study also underlines the impact of land use changes that may be discriminating. When the development of energy crops leads directly or not to deforestation and disappearing of grasslands, wetlands, the balance of their GHG emission may become negative in comparison with fossil fuels.

Other parameters could have significant impacts on the GHG emission blances of biofuel pathways, such as nitrous oxide emissions, which depend on local conditions (agronomic practices, soil, climate, weather).

This work would allow French public authorities and economic operators to have evaluation components to implement the certification system for biofuels under the European Directive on the promotion of renewable energies, from December 2010.

There is a French version.

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