Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 655–671 | Cite as

Sustainability considerations of biodiesel based on supply chain analysis

  • Teresa M. Mata
  • António A. Martins
  • Subhas K. Sikdar
  • Carlos A. V. Costa
Review

Abstract

Developing clean and renewable energy resources ranks as one of the greatest challenges facing mankind in the medium to long term. The issues associated with developing non-fossil energy are intimately connected with economic development and prosperity, quality of life and global stability, and require smart strategies for sustainable development. This study presents a relative sustainability assessment of biodiesel, taking into account its full life cycle with the main goal of comparing alternative feedstocks, either currently used or promising for future use such as microalgae. A set of sustainability metrics relevant for biodiesel is identified using only the data available in the literature and taking into account all the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, societal, and economic. Although this study does not attempt to identify which feedstock or process is the best, its procedural suggestions may be valuable to practitioners and policy makers seeking to identify the best alternatives. The conclusions, however, are limited by the availability and the quality of the data used in the analyses.

Keywords

Biodiesel life cycle Alternative feedstocks Sustainability metrics Indicators 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa M. Mata
    • 1
  • António A. Martins
    • 2
  • Subhas K. Sikdar
    • 3
  • Carlos A. V. Costa
    • 1
  1. 1.LEPAE-Laboratory for Process, Environmental and Energy Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of Porto (FEUP)PortoPortugal
  2. 2.CEFT-Center for Transport Phenomena Studies, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of Porto (FEUP)PortoPortugal
  3. 3.National Risk Management Research LaboratoryOffice of Research and Development U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyCincinnatiUSA

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