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Biodiesel Policy Publications

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  1. Biofuel impact on food prices index and land use change
    Abstract

    Duffield, James A.; Shrestha, Dev S.; Staab, Brenden D. 2017. Biofuel impact on food prices index and land use change. 2017 ASABE Annual International Meeting. 1

    Biofuel (ethanol and biodiesel) has played a major role in developing cleaner alternative fuel. However, some papers, mostly based on economic model, have been published that question the use of biofuels, claiming that biofuels cause more land to be diverted to crop production and cause food prices to increase. With over a decade‘s worth of data since the biofuel boom in the early 2000s, the model predictions were compared with the data and statistical analysis was performed to compare between before and after biofuel era to study the impact of biofuel on food prices and land use change. Agricultural Census data shows that agriculture land in the United States has decreased each year since the 1950s. Total cropland decreased by 88 million acres from 1950 to 2012. The Energy Independence and Security Act strictly limits the amount of land that can be used for biofuel crop production. Furthermore, papers arguing that biofuels have caused dramatic land use change, based the argument from satellite data, which has been shown inaccurate. In terms of food prices, U.S. food price index in increasing at 2.6% per year linearly with R2 of 0.91 from 1991 to 2015, fully encompassing the biofuel boom. Comparatively, the inflation rate from 1981 to 1991 was 3.8% per year, and the rate from 1973 to 1981 was 8.3% per year. From this research, we have found that biofuels have not had a significant impact on land use change or food prices.
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  2. Life Cycle Analysis and Production Potential of Camelina Biodiesel in the Pacific Northwest
    Abstract

    Dangol, N.; Shrestha, D. S.; Duffield, J. A. 2015. Life Cycle Analysis and Production Potential of Camelina Biodiesel in the Pacific Northwest. Transactions of the ASABE. 58(2) 465-475

    Camelina sativa could be a potential feedstock to help meet the U.S. biodiesel production goal of 36 billion gallons by 2022, as set forth by Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This research is focused on assessing the energy balance and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of camelina biodiesel production in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region of the U.S. Field data were collected from a camelina farm in the region, and crushing and transesterification data were measured using facilities at the University of Idaho. It was estimated that use of camelina biodiesel reduces GHG emissions by 69% compared to 2005 baseline diesel. However, camelina biodiesel does not meet the ASTM D6751 specification for oxidative stability without an additive. Camelina has a smaller seed size compared to canola and required 23% more energy for crushing. The net energy ratio for camelina biodiesel was found to be 3.6, and the fossil energy ratio was found to be 4.2. From an agronomic standpoint, camelina can be incorporated into low rainfall areas of the PNW as a rotational crop. Wheat areas of the PNW with annual rainfall of 19 to 38 cm that currently incorporate fallow into their rotations were considered as potential areas for camelina production. There were 846,500 ha (2.1 million acres) of land meeting the criteria in the region that could potentially produce 443.0 million L of biodiesel (117.1 million gal) and 1.2 billion kg of meal per year. This is 12.1% of the approved amount of camelina meal that could be used in livestock feed within the PNW. It was concluded that camelina biodiesel qualifies as an advanced biofuel, and camelina meal has potential to be consumed locally as a feed mix for livestock.
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  3. The economics of biofuel policies : impacts on price volatility in grain and oilseed market
    Abstract

    De Gorter, Harry; Drabik, Dusan; Just, David R. 2015. The economics of biofuel policies : impacts on price volatility in grain and oilseed market. Palgrave studies in agricultural economics and food policy. xxx, 282 pages

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  4. Reassessment of Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Soybean Biodiesel
    Abstract

    Pradhan, A.; Shrestha, D. S.; Van Gerpen, J.; McAloon, A.; Yee, W.; Haas, M.; Duffield, J. A. 2012. Reassessment of Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Soybean Biodiesel. Transactions of the Asabe. 55(6) 2257-2264

    This study updates the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for soybean biodiesel with revised system boundaries and the inclusion of indirect land use change using the most current set of agricultural data. The updated results showed that life cycle GHG emission from biodiesel use was reduced by 81.2% compared to 2005 baseline diesel. When the impacts of lime application and soil N2O emissions were excluded for more direct comparison with prior results published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the reduction was 85.4%. This is a significant improvement over the 78.5% GHG reduction reported in the NREL study. Agricultural lime accounted for 50.6% of GHG from all agricultural inputs. Soil N2O accounted for 18.0% of total agricultural emissions. The improvement in overall GHG reduction was primarily due to lower agricultural energy usage and improved soybean crushing facilities. This study found that soybean meal and oil price data from the past ten years had a significant positive correlation (R-2 = 0.73); hence, it is argued that soybean meal and oil are both responsible for indirect land use change from increased soybean demand It is concluded that when there is a strong price correlation among co-products, system boundary expansion without a proper co-product allocation for indirect land use change produces erroneous results. When the emissions associated with predicted indirect land use change were allocated and incorporated using U.S. EPA model data, the GHG reduction for biodiesel was 76.4% lower than 2005 baseline diesel.
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  5. Energy life-cycle assessment of soybean biodiesel revisited
    Abstract

    Pradhan, A.; Shrestha, D.; McAloon, A.; Yee, W.; Haas, M.; Duffield, J. 2011. Energy life-cycle assessment of soybean biodiesel revisited. Transactions of the ASABE. 54(3) In press

    The first comprehensive life-cycle assessment (LCA) for soybean biodiesel produced in the U.S. was completed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 1998, and the energy inventory for this analysis was updated in 2009 using 2002 data. The continual adoption of new technologies in farming, soybean processing, and for biodiesel conversion affects the life-cycle energy use over time, requiring that LCA practitioners update their models as often as possible. This study uses the most recently available data to update the energy life-cycle of soybean biodiesel and makes comparisons with the two past studies. The updated analysis showed that the fossil energy ratio (FER) of soybean biodiesel was 5.54 using 2006 agricultural data. This is a major improvement over the FER of 3.2 reported in the 1998 NREL study that used 1990 agricultural data and significantly better than the FER of 4.56 reported using 2002 data. The improvements are primarily due to improved soybean yields and more energy-efficient soybean crushing and conversion facilities. The energy input in soybean agriculture was reduced by 52%, in soybean crushing by 58% and in transesterification by 33% per unit volume of biodiesel produced. Overall, the energy input reduction was 42% for the same amount of biodiesel produced. The addition of secondary inputs, such as farm machinery and building materials, did not have a significant effect on the FER. The FER of soybean biodiesel is likely to continue to improve over time because of increases in soybean yields and the development of increasingly energy-efficient technologies.
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  6. Food Versus Fuel Characteristics of Vegetable Oils and Animal Fats
    Abstract

    Hansen, A. C.; He, B. B.; Engeseth, N. J. 2011. Food Versus Fuel Characteristics of Vegetable Oils and Animal Fats. Transactions of the Asabe. 54(4) 1407-1414

    Vegetable oils and animal fats are major components of food products and are used extensively for cooking. Recently, attention has been focused on their uses for making fuels for engines and heating. Vegetable oils and animal fats comprise mixtures of fatty acids in proportions that depend on the source materials. These fatty acids vary with respect to carbon chain length and degree of saturation. Fatty acid composition has been shown to have impacts on the properties of oils and fats and thus on both food and fuel quality. Some of these source materials also contain natural antioxidants that are beneficial for both food and fuel applications. The objectives of this article are to highlight the different requirements in the properties of vegetable oils and animal fats for health and for fuel, and to provide an assessment of the suitability of different materials as sources for food and/or fuel.
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  7. Biodiesel from oilseed crops
    Abstract

    Shrestha, D.; VanGerpen, J. H. 2010. Biodiesel from oilseed crops. Industrial Crops and Uses. 1140-156

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  8. Energy life cycle assessment of a biofuel production system
    Abstract

    Shrestha, D. S.; Pradhan, A. 2010. Energy life cycle assessment of a biofuel production system. Bioenergy and Biofuels from Biowastes and Biomass.

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  9. Energy Life Cycle Assessment of Soybean Biodiesel
    Abstract

    Pradhan, A.; Shrestha, D. S.; McAloon, A. J.; Yee, W. C.; Haas, M. J.; Duffield, J.; Shapouri, H. 2009. Energy Life Cycle Assessment of Soybean Biodiesel. . 845

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  10. Life Cycle Analysis of Soybean Biodiesel Production
    Abstract

    Anup, Pradhan; Dev Sagar, Shrestha 2009. Life Cycle Analysis of Soybean Biodiesel Production. 2009 Reno, Nevada, June 21 - June 24, 2009.

    Life Cycle Analysis of Soybean Biodiesel Production Life Cycle Analysis of Soybean Biodiesel Production Developing renewable fuels, such as biodiesel, is desirable because they are derived from sustainable sources of energy, whereas petroleum fuels come from a finite resource that is rapidly being depleted. However, the production of renewable fuels generally involves a significant amout of fossil energy. The renewability of biofuel is largely a factor of the amount of fossil energy used for its production, hence it is essential to estimate the amount of fossil energy used over the entire life cycle of the biodiesel production. The comprehensive Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of soybean biodiesel production was conducted by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 1998. Because of increasing changes in land use and production process, the LCA conducted few years ago is no longer representative of current practices. This research updated the Energy Life Cycle Analysis (ELCA) of the NREL model and estimated the Fossil Energy Ratio (FER) to be 4.56 based on data from 2002 soybean production in the United States. This is a significant improvement (43%) over the 1998 NREL study that reported a FER of 3.2. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects soybean yield to increase annually by 0.4 to 0.5 bushel/acre through the year 2017. For every one bushel increase in soybean yield, FER increases by about 0.45 percent. Holding all other variables constant, the FER of soybean biodiesel is estimated to reach 4.69 in the year 2015 when soybean yield is projected to increase to 45.3 bushels per acre. The FER will continue to improve overtime with increasing trend of soybean yield and improvement in the energy efficiency of the crushing and biodiesel plants. In addition to ELCA, four commonly referenced models were compared for the GHG emission savings. The analysis revealed that the most significant factors in altering the results in GHG emissions were differences in data citations, system boundaries, and coproduct allocations.
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  11. An Update on Energy Balance of Soybean Biodiesel Production
    Abstract

    Anup, Pradhan; Dev Sagar, Shrestha; James, Duffield; Hosein, Shapouri; Michael, Haas; Andrew, McAloon 2008. An Update on Energy Balance of Soybean Biodiesel Production. 2008 Providence, Rhode Island, June 29 – July 2, 2008.

    An Update on Energy Balance of Soybean Biodiesel Production An Update on Energy Balance of Soybean Biodiesel Production Abstract.
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  12. The energy balance of soybean oil biodiesel production: A review of past studies
    Abstract

    Pradhan, A.; Shrestha, D. S.; Van Gerpen, J.; Duffield, J. 2008. The energy balance of soybean oil biodiesel production: A review of past studies. Transactions of the Asabe. 51(1) 185-194

    Although several studies have found biodiesel to be a renewable source of energy, there has been a claim that it is not. This article investigates models used to calculate the net energy ratio (NER) of biodiesel production to point out the reasons for the contradictory results, compares their strengths and weaknesses, and proposes a uniform model for interpretation of the final result. Four commonly referenced models were compared for their assumptions and results. The analysis revealed that the most significant factors in altering the results were the proportions of energy allocated between biodiesel and its coproducts. The lack of consistency in defining system boundaries has apparently led to very different results. The definitions of NER used among the models were also found to be different. A unified model is proposed for biodiesel energy analysis to answer the renewability question. Using the unified boundary, a range of probable NERs was calculated using bootstrapping. The mean NER on a mass basis was 2.55 with a standard deviation of 0.38. The economic sustainability ratio (ESR) is defined as the monetary value ratio of biodiesel to biodiesel's share of the energy inputs. The average ESR was found to be 4.43 with a standard deviation of 0.6.
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  13. Biodiesel: An Alternative Fuel for Compression Ignition Engines
    Abstract

    Jon, H. Van Gerpen 2007. Biodiesel: An Alternative Fuel for Compression Ignition Engines. Biodiesel: An Alternative Fuel for Compression Ignition Engines. ASAE Distinguished Lecture No. 31, pp. 1-22..

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  14. An Update on Life Cycle Study of Soybean Oil Biodiesel Production
    Abstract

    Anup, Pradhan; Dev Sagar, Shrestha 2006. An Update on Life Cycle Study of Soybean Oil Biodiesel Production. 2006 ASAE Annual Meeting.

    An Update on Life Cycle Study of Soybean Oil Biodiesel Production An Update on Life Cycle Study of Soybean Oil Biodiesel Production The life cycle analysis of soybean oil biodiesel production was performed to estimate the net fossil energy balance of soybean oil biodiesel. The energy inputs were found to be less than the energy contained in the biodiesel. The net energy return of biodiesel was found to be in the range of 2.64 to 2.78 using the NREL energy allocation approach. The addition of labor, farm machinery and soybean transportation energy to this approach didn’t show much difference. Pimentel and Patzek energy allocation approach gave the net energy return in the range of 0.85:1 to 0.88:1. However, allocating energy as in NREL study, this method yielded in the net energy return above five folds (5.69 to 5.93), thus giving an energy gain that is even higher than the 3.2 value from the NREL report. The energy allocation approach plays the crucial role in the variation of the net energy return. The net gain in the energy from soybean oil biodiesel showed the effective use of fossil energy resources. This confirms the renewable nature of soybean oil biodiesel.
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  15. Biodiesel energy balance
    Abstract

    Van Gerpen, J.; Shrestha, D. 2005. Biodiesel energy balance. University of Idaho.

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  16. Potential production of biodiesel
    Abstract

    Peterson, C. 2005. Potential production of biodiesel. The biodiesel handbook. 231-238

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  17. Fuel property effect on biodiesel
    Abstract

    Tat, M. E.; Van Gerpen, J. 2003. Fuel property effect on biodiesel. ASAE Annual International Meeting.

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  18. Biodegradability of biodiesel in the aquatic environment
    Abstract

    Zhang, X.; Peterson, C.; Reece, D.; Haws, R.; Moller, G. 1998. Biodegradability of biodiesel in the aquatic environment. Transactions of the ASAE. 41(5) 1423-1430

    The biodegradability of various biodiesel fuels was examined by the CO2 evolution method (EPA 560/6-82-003), BOD5 (EPA 405.1), COD (EPA 410), and gas chromatography (GC) analyses in an aquatic system. The fuels examined included the methyl- and ethyl-esters of rapeseed oil and soybean oil, neat rapeseed oil, neat soybean oil and Phillips 2-D law sulfur; reference petroleum diesel. Blends of biodiesel/petroleum diesel at different volumetric ratios including 80/20, 50/50, and 20/80, were also examined. The results demonstrate that all the biodiesel fuels are "readily biodegradable". Moreover; in the presence of REE, the degradation rate of petroleum diesel increased to twice that of petroleum diesel alone. The pattern of biodegradation in the blends and reasons why biodiesel is more readily degradable than petroleum diesel are discussed The biodegradation monitoring results from both CO2 evolution and GC methods are compared
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  19. Carbon cycle for rapeseed oil biodiesel fuels
    Abstract

    Peterson, C. L.; Hustrulid, T. 1998. Carbon cycle for rapeseed oil biodiesel fuels. Biomass & Bioenergy. 14(2) 91-101

    The greenhouse effect, thought to be responsible for global warming, is caused by gases accumulating in the earth's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, which makes up half of the gas accumulation problem, is produced during respiration and combustion processes. This paper provides an outline of the carbon cycle for rapeseed oil-derived fuels. Plant processes, fuel chemistry and combustion are examined with respect to carbon. A diagram is presented to interpret the information presented graphically. A comparison of carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of rapeseed oil biodiesel and petroleum diesel is made. Complete combustion converts hydrocarbon fuels so carbon dioxide and water. The carbon cycle consists of the fixation of carbon and the release of oxygen by plants through the process of photosynthesis, then the recombining of oxygen and carbon to form CO2 through the processes of combustion and respiration. The carbon dioxide released by petroleum diesel was fixed from the atmosphere during the formative years of the earth. Carbon dioxide released by biodiesel is fixed by the plant in a recent year and is recycled. Many scientists believe that global warming is occurring because of the rapid release of CO2 in processes such as the combustion of petroleum diesel. Using biodiesel could reduce the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. (C) 1998 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved
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  20. Emissions characteristics of ethyl and methyl ester of rapeseed oil compared with low sulfur diesel control fuel in a chassis dynamometer test of a pickup truck
    Abstract

    Peterson, C.; Reece, D. 1996. Emissions characteristics of ethyl and methyl ester of rapeseed oil compared with low sulfur diesel control fuel in a chassis dynamometer test of a pickup truck. Transactions of the ASAE. 39(3) 805-816

    Comprehensive tests were performed on an on-road vehicle in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority emissions test facility. All tests were with a transient chassis dynamometer. Tests included both a double arterial cycle of 768 s duration and an EPA heavy duty vehicle cycle of 1,060 s duration. The test vehicle was a 1994 pickup truck with a 5.9-L turbocharged and intercooled, direct injection diesel engine. Rapeseed methyl (RME) and ethyl esters (REE) and blends were compared with low sulfur diesel control fuel. Emissions data include all regulated emissions: hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}), oxides of nitrogen (NO{sub x}), and particulate matter (PM). In these tests the average of 100% RME and 100% REE reduced HC (52.4%), CO (47.6%), NO{sub x} (10.0%), and increases in CO{sub 2} (0.9%) and PM (9.9%) compared to the diesel control fuel. Also, 100% REE reduced HC (8.7%), CO (4.3%), and NO{sub x} (3.4%) compared to 100% RME. 33 refs., 1 figs., 8 tabs.
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  21. Toxicology, Biodegradability and Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel
    Abstract

    peterson, C.; Reece, D. 1994. Toxicology, Biodegradability and Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel. .

    Study Conclusions: The data reported in this paper shows levels of safety, biodegradability, toxicity and emissions. 1. Biodiesel is safer because the flashpoint is over 100 degrees F higher than that of diesel. 2. Biodegradability of rape esters was higher than the biodegradability of reference dextrose and much higher than diesel fuel. 3. Toxicity of Biodiesel was at least 15 times less than diesel and probably even much less than that. 4. Emissions results for 100 percent ester compared with diesel control fuel show a 53% reduction in HC, a 50% reduction in CO, 10% reduction in NOX and 13.6% increase in PM. A slight drop in PM was observed with a 20 percent ester/80 percent diesel blend.
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  22. Vegetable Oil as a Diesel Fuel: Status and Research Priorities
    Abstract

    Peterson, C. L. 1986. Vegetable Oil as a Diesel Fuel: Status and Research Priorities. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 29(5) 1413

    A review of the current status of vegetable oils as a possible substitute for diesel fuel is presented. Topics considered include identification of high oil bearing crops, oil processing and storage, results of short and long term engine tests, use of transesterification of vegetable oils and microemulsions, emissions, economics, and priorities for additional research. Results indicate that highly saturated oils could be used in a blend with diesel in emergencies, however, engine life would be reduced and maintenance costs would be increased. Vegetable oil esters are possibly a direct substitute for diesel fuel; low temperature operation and corrosiveness are problems. Vegetable oil esters are more expensive than petroleum based fuels at the present time. Future research priorities are discussed.
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