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Sustainable design of oilseed-based biofuel supply chains: the case of Jatropha in Burkina Faso

Chapuis A.. 2014. Albi : Fondation 2iE, 217 p.. Thèse de doctorat -- Sciences et Technologies de l'Eau, l'Energie et l'Environnement. Energétique et Combustion.

The development of biofuel production in Burkina Faso, raises high expectations regarding the development of rural energy access and the substitution of imported fossil fuels. Several initiatives for biofuel production from Jatropha oilseeds were launched in recent year by NGOs and private operators. The government is planning to define a policy framework to support the development of this sector. To this end, the potential benefits from this activity needs to be carefully investigated in regard to sustainable development objectives. The goal of this work was to investigate these opportunities by determining the technical possibilities regarding the context and in what conditions and to what extent they can contribute to sustainable development objectives. The approach was based on the modelling and simulation of production processes coupled with environmental and economic assessment tools. Specific experiments were also led whenever data were not available, as for the determination of the oil yield of a screw press. Economic efficiency was assessed using value chain analysis, which consists in calculating the value added generated by the different activities involved in a supply chain, and the distribution of this value in the form of income to the employees, the supply chain players, the state and the banking institutions. Environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and fossil energy consumption, are evaluated using a partial life-cycle assessment. The production of three different final products was investigated, i.e. straight vegetable oil (SVO), refined oil aimed to be used for stationary applications (power generation, shaft power, pumping...) and biodiesel dedicated to transportation. The analysis of individual processes allowed to identify the most sensitive parameters at a local level. As a general trend for all processes, the price of feedstock dramatically affects the production cost. For SVO production, the oil recovery and the seeds oil content are of paramount importance. The economic performances of the refining and transesterification processes are largely conditioned by the processing capacity, due to economies of scale, and to a lesser extent by the solution employed for energy supply. In the case of biodiesel production, the price of methanol is also a crucial factor. The developed assessment method was applied to several prospective biofuel supply chains, all relying on the production of Jatropha seeds by smallholders. The results have shown that the method can bring crucial information to policy makers. Based on a seed market price of 100 FCFA/kg, any type of biofuel can be produced in a cost effective way. In some cases, the implementation of advanced technologies for energy supply and by-product valorisation is needed to reach the required production cost. This could also be a solution to increase the price of seeds so as to provide higher incomes to farmers. The production of refined oil for power generation appears to be rather expensive relatively to the target, which imposes large processing scales. Supply chains involving a biodiesel plant supplied by several decentralised SVO plants constitute a solution for addressing at the same time rural energy access and the substitution of fossil fuels. Then the income perceived by the State is directly determined by the value and the profits generated by biofuel producers. Eventually, the environmental impacts related to seed processing, in terms of GHG emissions and fossil energy consumption, is relatively low especially when energy requirements are supplied from a renewable resource. By contrast, the impacts of biodiesel production are systematically impaired by the use of methanol of fossil origin in the process....

Mots-clés : huile végétale; jatropha curcas; biocarburant; burkina faso

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