Publication Details

Title : Life-cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of palm fatty acid distillate derived renewable diesel
Publication Date : August 07, 2020
Publication Journal :
Authors : H. Xu, U.Lee, M. Wang
Abstract : This study aims to quantify life-cycle fossil energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) derived renewable diesel (RD) taking into consideration different feedstock classifications that are applicable to PFAD (residue, byproduct, or coproduct), and incorporating updated data for key processes. Under the three classifications, the PFAD to RD pathway was modeled using the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Technologies (GREET®) model. PFAD-derived RD could reduce fossil energy consumption by 77%–88%, relative to petroleum diesel. GHG emissions are very sensitive to PFAD classification and coproduct handling methods. Considering the production of palm oil and PFAD and economic value, we maintain that PFAD should be treated as a byproduct in palm oil refineries. With this treatment, PFAD-derived RD could achieve 84% GHG emissions reductions, compared to the emissions of petroleum diesel. We also employed a substitution method to address the substitution of PFAD by other materials in the marketplace. Compared to coproduct allocation results, we found substituting PFAD by tallow, soy oil, barley, and canola oil results in lower GHG emissions. Due to high induced land-use change emissions associated with palm farming, if PFAD is treated as a coproduct with refined palm oil, PFAD-derived RD may not deliver GHG reductions. A sensitivity analysis identified key parameters such as palm fruit yield, oil extraction efficiency in oil mills, and energy use intensity for RD production affects LCA results significantly; future efforts to improve these parameters could result in further GHG reductions.