Energy, Vol.43, No.1, 306-314, 2012
Environmental sustainability assessment of palm biodiesel production in Thailand
The study assesses the environmental sustainability of palm biodiesel production systems in Thailand by focusing on their energy efficiency and environmental impact potentials. The Net Energy Balance (NEB) and Renewability indicate energy gain for palm biodiesel and its co-products as compared to fossil energy inputs. In addition, life cycle assessment also reveals lower values of environmental impact potentials of biodiesel as compared to conventional diesel. For example, palm biodiesel can provide greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction of around 46-73% as compared to diesel. Nitrogen-fertilizer production and application in the plantation and the air emissions from the ponds treating palm oil mill effluent (POME) are found to be the major environmental aspects. However, the energy and environmental performances depend on various factors such as the management efficiency of empty fruit bunches (EFB) and POME and the possible land-use change in the future. Recommendations are made for improving environmental performance of palm biodiesel and for securing the long-term availability of crude palm oil supply with a view towards sustainable palm biodiesel production. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.