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Life Cycle Management of Jatropha Bio-Diesel Production in Thailand

Sate Sampattagul1, Chonticha Suttibut2, Sadamichi Yucho2 and Tanongkiat Kiatsiriroat1 Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University Thermal System Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University, Thailand 50200 Corresponding Author: [email protected] Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Management, Jatropha Curcus, Bio-Diesel, Thailand


According to oil's market price is tremendously increasing compared with the last decade, one of major influences is the highly demand in the energy consumption from all over the growing economic countries. Thailand has imported huge amount of oil each year, mainly for industrial and transportation sectors. The statistics in Thailand indicated that the selling price of diesel has been increased from 0.24[Euro/lit] in 2000 to 0.56[Euro/lit] in 2006. This problem effected directly and suddenly to all sectors who rely on this fuel. In order to relief this crisis, the government tried to promote the development of bio-diesel which has the same function as diesel but cheaper. However, there are many kinds of bio-diesel fuels such as bio-diesel from used-cooking oil, bio-diesel from plants or animal grease while some have similar properties to petroleum-based diesel but some need a lot of improvement processes. Jatropha is expected as high potential of oil plant in Thailand. Nevertheless, from the life cycle aspect, to generate bio-diesel from Jatropha oil, the materials processing, energy input have been consumed and the emissions and wastes have been released to the environment. Therefore, it is necessary to quantify and verify the energy efficiency and the environmental impacts of Jatropha bio-diesel production from the life cycle point of views. Thus, the objectives of this paper are to develop the life cycle inventory database of Jatropha bio-diesel and analyze the environmental impacts by using the concept of life cycle thinking. As the results, the life cycle environmental impacts of Jatropha bio-diesel are discussed. It is obviously found that the cultivation process of Jatropha contribute to the highest environmental impacts compared with other stages in the life cycle due to the management of cultivation is not effective enough. Life cycle improvement suggestions of Jatropha are introduced to maximize the benefit of using Jatropha bio-diesel and minimize the environmental impacts for future sustainable utilization. 1. INTRODUCTION Jatropha curcas Linn. is a native tropical plant of America and naturalized throughout tropical and subtropical parts of Asia and Africa. In Thailand, Jatropha is called "Saboo Dam" which is often found near the rice fields as the farmers planted them and using them as herb. It is a large shrub with thick branches and numerous large leaves attaining a height of 3­4 m. in 3 years. It can be successfully cultivated both in irrigated and rain fed conditions. The plants grow quickly forming a thick bushy fence in a short period of time of 6­9 months, and growing to heights of 4 m. with thick branches in 2­3 years. Seeds resemble castor seeds in shape, but are smaller and brown. The plant is valued for its rich oil high in fats obtained from the seeds. Jatropha can tolerate high temperatures and grows very well under low fertility and moisture conditions. Their leaves also yield a dye and latex which has many medicinal uses that could support potential pharmaceutical industries. The one obvious thing is its oil can be used in place of kerosene and diesel. It has been well promoted to make rural areas self sufficient in fuels for cooking, lighting and motive power or converted into its methyl ester by the trans-esterification process. This involves making the triglycerides of Jatropha oil to react with methyl alcohol in the presence of a catalyst (NaOH/KOH) to produce glycerol and fatty acid ester which known as Bio-diesel. Considering its wide spectrum of utility and the prospects of it growing in wastelands without competing with other crops, Jatropha was selected for investigation of its feasibility in the mass production as bio-diesel in the theme of Life Cycle Assessment and the Life Cycle Costing aspect was used to measure the economical value.

2. BACKGROUND 2.1. Goal Definition First goal is to estimate the environmental impacts from the Jatropha bio-diesel production from its overall life cycle and the second LCC analysis have been performed in order to understand the economical value. Finally, LCA and LCC results of Jatropha are compared with diesel. 2.2. Functional unit The environmental analyses require an objective basis for comparison, the so-called functional unit, which reflects the function of the fuel. According to the calorific measurements 1 liter of Jatropha bio-diesel it takes 37.14 MJ as equal as 0.862 liter of diesel. Therefore, the LCA of both were compared at the same obtain work by assume that at 37.14 MJ of Jatropha bio-diesel and diesel make the same distances by automobiles under the similar condition. 2.3. Scope Definition The scope of this LCA study is broad as the data available. It starts from seeding acquisition till the use phase by focusing on the extraction of raw materials, energy consumption and the emissions during life cycle processes that is shown in Fig. 1.

Phase 1 Energy

Jatropha seeding Jatropha plantation Seed harvest Oil extraction

Agricultural waste,

Fertilizers, Crop protection products

Emission to air, soil, water

Phase 2 Emission to air, soil, water

Methanol NaOH Phase 3

Trans-esterification Biodiesel utilization

Emission to air

Figure 1: 3 phases of Jatropha curcas biodiesel production life cycle

3. METHODOLOGY 3.1 Life Cycle Costing In LCC analysis, overall cost are grouped in to 7 main cost categories and convert all cost categories in to present value as shown in equation 1.

LCC = Cpw +Opw+ Mpw + Fpw+ Rpw ­ Spw + Epw



C O M F R S E pw

= = = = = = = =

Capital cost (Baht) Operation cost Maintenance cost (Baht) Fuel cost (Baht) Replacement cost (Baht) Salvage value (Baht) Environmental cost (Baht) Present worth form

4. Results In Fig. 2, it could be indicated that the cultivation process contributes to the highest environmental impact that is 44.66% from 5.80E-03 Pt. in total. The environmental impacts of bio-diesel utilization and biodiesel production are 30.34% and 27.83%, respectively. The major impacts are Eco-toxicity Water Acute, Ecotoxicity Water Chronic and Acidification as shown in Fig. 3. In bio-diesel utilization phase, the environmental impacts take place because of the air emissions during combustion. However, in the cultivation process, the electricity and chemical acquisition are consumed, that directly effect to the higher environmental burdens.


3.0E-03 2.59E-03 2.5E-03 2.0E-03 1.5E-03 1.0E-03 5.0E-04 0.0E+00 Agronomy Biodiesel production Biodiesel utilization 1.44E-03



Figure 2: Life Cycle Assessment results of Jatropha bio-diesel.


1.6E-03 1.4E-03 1.2E-03 1.0E-03 8.0E-04 6.0E-04 4.0E-04 2.0E-04 0.0E+00 GW OD Ac Eu PS

Biodiesel utilization Biodiesel production Agronomy




Figure 3: The environmental impact categories.

4.1 Comparison base on LCA Based on the LCI development from Jatropha bio-diesel production in Thailand, the Fig. 5 shown that the environmental impacts from bio-diesel is higher than conventional diesel. However, the environmental impact at use phase is better. It means that the management or improvement of cultivation and production stages can enhance the efficiency ratio and reduce the environmental problems.



Use phase Production phase






0.00E+00 J. curcas biodiesel Diesel


Figure 5: LCA comparisons between Jatropha bio-diesel and conventional diesel.

The environmental impact categories in Fig. 6 indicated that the eco-toxicity water acute, eco-toxicity water chronic and human toxicity to water from bio-diesel are higher than diesel, while ozone depletion, human toxicity to soil and global worming problems are lower.

J. curcas biodiesel Diesel









Figure 6 : Impact categories comparison between Jatropha bio-diesel and conventional diesel.

4.2 Life Cycle Improvement The cultivation process can be improved by supporting the irrigation system because Jatropha cultivation process needs much of water to grow up. The conventional water pumping system will also consume a lot of electricity. The next process is trans-esterification and oil extraction, not only intake much amount of chemical and electricity but also generate chemical waste to soil and water. The processing machine need a lot of electricity for the operation and there is not used in the highest capacity. The technologies for Jatopha curcas biodiesel production are during reaching now so the new technologies should provide the better efficiency. In trans-esterification, it needs methanol and NaOH to change J. curcas oil in to J. curcas biodiesel. After both of chemicals are mixed and separated from biodiesel included glycerin as a reaction second production's product released, most of its become waste that contaminate in water and soil because of its were not recovered and reused again, so this lead to be one of the environmental impacts. The optimal chemical used should be found with the trans-esterification waste management.

4.3 Life Cycle Costing Fig. 7 shows that the agricultural process occupies 62.62%, most expending is the operation costs such as fertilizers, insecticide and electricity for water pumping system, especially in the dry season. Cost of biodiesel production process is about 25.27% while the external cost or environmental cost at use phase is approximately about 12.12%. Thus the total cost of Jatropha bio-diesel without externalities is about 0.6 Euro/liter. And the total cost included the environmental cost is 0.7 Euro/liter. This makes the production cost of Jropha bio-diesel is higher than the retail selling price of diesel in present market which is about 0.5 Euro/liter, by means of this price is not included the environmental cost.



Biodiesel utilization Biodiesel production







0.00E+00 Cpw -5.00E+06 Opw Mpw Fpw Rpw Spw Epw


Figure 7: LCC of Jatropha bio-diesel

6. Conclusions It could be concluded that, Jatropha bio-diesel production in Thailand should be improved according to higher environmental impacts and total cost than conventional diesel fuel from life cycle aspects. The cultivation of Jatropha should be developed to increase the production yield per hectare per year and also the proper cultivated technologies such as new irrigation system have to be applied to maximize the efficiency of Jatropha production. Although, the emissions at use phase of Jatropha bio-diesel seems not to be much serious but the quality of bio-diesel must be controlled for enhancing the performance of the engines in long terms. According to this study, the bio-diesel from Jatropha oil is still not suitable for being the alternative fuel in this time as the cost and the environmental impacts are high but in the future, the advanced technologies should be used to emphasis the advantages of this kind of plant. Jatropha can not only be used for herb, biomass and bio-diesel but also can be used to reduce the global warming problem. Therefore, the life cycle improvements of Jatropha bio-diesel must be applied immediately in both ecological and economical ways for being the sustainable alternative fuel in the future. 7. Acknowledgement I would like to express my sincere thank you to the Hitachi Scholarship Foundation for providing financial support. 8. References [1] G.D.P.S. Augustus, M. Jayabalan and G.J. Seiler. 2002. Evaluation of energy components of Jatropha Curcus. Biomass and Bioenergy. vol(23); 161-164. [2] Natanee Vorayos. Performance Analysis of Continuous Solar Ethanol Distillation System Including Environmental Impact. Doctor Thesis, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, 2005. P 65-177. [3] Jose Luz Silveira, Joao Andrade de Carvalho Jr and Iraides Aparecida de Castro Villela. 2007. Combined cycle versus one thousand diesel power plants: pollutant emissions, ecological efficiency and economic analysis. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews. vol(11); 524­ 535.



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