Camelina sativa (L.) is a promising crop for biodiesel production that avoids many of the potential pitfalls of traditional biofuel crops, such as land use change (LUC) and food versus fuel. In this study the environmental viability of camelina biodiesel was assessed using life cycle analysis (LCA) methodology. The LCA was conducted using the spreadsheet model dubbed KABAM. KABAM found that camelina grown as a niche filling crop (in rotation with wheat or as a double crop) reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fossil fuel use by 40-60% when compared to petroleum diesel. Furthermore, by avoiding LUC emissions, camelina biodiesel emits fewer GHGs than traditional soybean and canola biodiesel. Finally, a sensitivity analysis concluded that in order to maintain and increase the environmental viability of camelina and other niche filling biofuel crops, researchers and policy makers should focus their efforts on achieving satisfactory yields (1000-2000. kg/ha) while reducing nitrogen fertilizer inputs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr. Burton Johnson, Dr. Russel Gesch, and the researchers at the Carrington Extension Center for providing me with their expert opinion on camelina and access to their data and years of work. We would also like to acknowledge NextEra Energy Resources, the Keble Association and the Environmental Change Institute for their financial support.
- Land use change
- Life cycle assessment