Rapeseed for energy production: Environmental impacts and cultivation methods.
Palmieri, N.; Bonaventura Forleo, M.; Suardi, A.; Coaloa, D.; Pari, L.
Biomass and Bioenergy
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This study involves an environmental impact analysis of rapeseed production in Italy to
identify the highest and lowest impact of the method of cultivation. The environmental
analysis included five farming units, which were extracted from a sample of 251 rapeseed
farm units (2751 ha) using cluster analysis. Using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method,
we evaluated the environmental performance of the five units, showing how the cultivation
practises and the type/quantity of input can cause environmental impact. Practises of
intensive farming with high fertilization and mechanization (machinery and fertilizers
production and application) are responsible for the greatest environmental impact. When
the level of productivity is low, the impact is still higher. The most damaged environmental
category is “human health”, even if the impact on “ecosystem” and “resource depletion” is
critical. The potential feasibility to integrate economic cost with the environmental results
was just approached.