Analysis of renewable jet from oilseed feedstocks replacing fallow in the U.S. Northern Great Plains

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Department of Chemical Engineering


Potential land-use change impact has been of concern for producing biomass-derived fuels. To avoid displacing crop production, this study considered north central and western U.S. nonirrigated wheat-growing states for integration of oilseed that fits well into rotations with existing grain crops for renewable jet fuel production. We conducted analyses showing oilseed supply and natural resource impacts based on 2326 9 km × 9 km grid cells in the U.S. Northern Great Plains and further examined the cradle-to-grave environmental impact based on inputs taken from a collection of biogeochemical, hydrological, farmer behavior, and biomass logistics models. Life cycle assessment results from this study show that introducing oilseeds to existing crop rotations for coproduction of food and renewable jet fuel has significant advantages in terms of global-warming potential compared to fossil jet (88 g CO2 eq/MJ), with considerable soil carbon savings from replacing the fallow period. The greenhouse gas emissions can be as low as −235 to −349 g CO2eq per MJ of jet fuel using displacement allocation, and −55 to −107 g CO2eq per MJ jet fuel using energy allocation, over the price points from $400 to $800 per Mg of rapeseed. Total net revenue from this land transition also creates opportunities to boost fuel oilseeds production and farmer incomes.

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ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering