Sustainability of sunflower cultivation for biodiesel production in central Italy according to the Renewable Energy Directive methodology

  • Daniele Duca | d.duca@univpm.it Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.
  • Giuseppe Toscano Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.
  • Ester Foppa Pedretti Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.
  • Giovanni Riva Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.

Abstract

The use of renewable energies as alternative to fossil fuels has value from different points of view and has effects at environmental, social and economic level. These aspects are often connected to each other and together define the overall sustainability of bioenergy. At European level, the Directive 2009/28/EC gives the basic criteria for the estimation of sustainability of biofuels and indicates a minimum threshold of 35% of greenhouse gas saving for a biofuel in order to be considered sustainable. The Directive gives the possibility to identify standard regional values for the cultivation steps that could be utilized for the certification. This paper aims to give a contribution to the definition of these values considering the RED methodology applied to the sunflower cropped in central Italy which is characterized by a hilly landscape and not-irrigated crops. To determine input and output of sunflower cultivation in the central Italy, the results of PROBIO project, carried out by the Authors, were used. The sustainability of biodiesel produced from sunflower grown in central Italy is variable and depends on the nitrogen input and seasonal climatic conditions that affect the yields. The greenhouse gases savings of the Italian chain is 40% in average, greater than the required 35% and would be possible to assign this value as standard to the biofuel chain biodiesel from sunflower cultivated in central Italy. Using an averaged regional standard value guards against the possibility of considering unsustainable harvesting in unfavourable years and seeing it overestimated in the favourable ones.

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Published
2014-02-28
Section
Original Articles
Keywords:
sunflower, bioenergy chain, sustainability, biodiesel, greenhouse gases (GHG), GHG saving.
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How to Cite
Duca, D., Toscano, G., Foppa Pedretti, E., & Riva, G. (2014). Sustainability of sunflower cultivation for biodiesel production in central Italy according to the Renewable Energy Directive methodology. Journal of Agricultural Engineering, 44(4), 175-180. https://doi.org/10.4081/jae.2013.222

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