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Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of sugar cane renewable jet fuel.

ABSTRACT

This study evaluated the life cycle GHG emissions of a renewable jet fuel produced from sugar cane in Brazil under a consequential approach. The analysis included the direct and indirect emissions associated with sugar cane production and fuel processing, distribution, and use for a projected 2020 scenario. The CA-GREET model was used as the basic analytical tool, while Land Use Change (LUC) emissions were estimated employing the GTAP-BIO-ADV and AEZ-EF models. Feedstock production and LUC impacts were evaluated as the main sources of emissions, respectively estimated as 14.6 and 12 g CO2eq/MJ of biofuel in the base case. However, the renewable jet fuel would strongly benefit from bagasse and trash-based cogeneration, which would enable a net life cycle emission of 8.5 g CO2eq/MJ of biofuel in the base case, whereas Monte Carlo results indicate 21 ± 11 g CO2eq/MJ. Besides the major influence of the electricity surplus, the sensitivity analysis showed that the cropland-pasture yield elasticity and the choice of the land use factor employed to sugar cane are relevant parameters for the biofuel life cycle performance. Uncertainties about these estimations exist, especially because the study relies on projected performances, and further studies about LUC are also needed to improve the knowledge about their contribution to the renewable jet fuel life cycle.