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239-248 T. Jokiniemi and J. Ahokas
A review of production and use of first generation biodiesel in agriculture
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A review of production and use of first generation biodiesel in agriculture

T. Jokiniemi* and J. Ahokas

University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences, Agrotechnology, P.O. Box 28, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland; *Correspondence: tapani.jokiniemi@helsinki.fi Abstract. Biofuels manufactured by transesterification from organic fats and oils, usually known as first generation biodiesel, have often been rejected in recent energy policy discussions. Major reasons for this have been the low energy return on investment ratio and greenhouse gas emissions emerging from the production of biodiesel raw material. Studies have indicated that total greenhouse gas emissions from the production chain of first generation biofuels can be equal to fossil fuels or even somewhat bigger. However, considering the constantly rising energy prices and decreasing fossil energy resources, and the fact that a true substituent for fossils does not exist at the moment, first generation biodiesel could still offer some new possibilities as an energy source at farm level. Because of the limited production capacity and competition with food production, it would be rational to focus the use of this kind of fuel inside the agriculture system. The object of this review was to examine the use and production of first generation biodiesel at farm level in the present situation. This includes production of biodiesel, suitability for different applications, and economical and environmental evaluation. It was concluded that even though the first generation biodiesel would not reduce emissions, it can assist to save nonrenewable energy. Farm scale biodiesel production is not economically viable at the moment, but the viability is strongly influenced by feedstock price and several other factors. Key words: biodiesel, biofuel, rapeseed, RME, FAME, energy ratio, energy analysis.INTRODUCTION


Biofuels refer to fuels manufactured from different kinds of organic biomass.Since also the fossil fuels are fundamentally organic, another criterion for biofuels is renewability: the raw materials have to renew with the same rate they are used in fuel production. Biofuels can be solid, gaseous or liquid, for example wood in different forms, biogas or carbon monoxide, alcohols and several biodiesel fuels. Absolute advantages of liquid biofuels are the high energy density, homogenous composition and good manageability, which lead to reduced storage space, long operation time without refueling and simple and familiar storage and handling technology. These factors are crucial especially in vehicle and moving machinery applications.Liquid biofuels are usually divided into first and second generation biofuelsaccording to the raw materials and production methods. First generation includes the ‘conventional biofuels, such as alcohols produced by fermentation and fatty acid esters produced from vegetable oils or animal fats. Second generation biofuels can be239

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