Environmental impacts associated with the use of fossil fuels and their potential limitations in supply are driving the development and use of biofuels. A customised framework for eco–efficiency in biodiesel processing sector was considered. The major concepts, definitions, framework assessment, cradle to grave inventory of eco–efficiency are also considered. The paper also gives a brief introduction to the use of indicators, especially environmental performance indicators and eco–efficiency indicators and describes the methodology to be used to assess the environmental impact of biodiesel. The environmental impacts are compared with the major biofuel producing crops like Jatropha, palm, soybean, canola and rapeseed. Different weighting techniques are used to present and evaluate the environmental characteristics of biodiesel produced from Jatropha curcas. With assistance of normalisation values the eco–efficiency was demonstrated.
Keywords: eco–efficiency, cradle to grave, cleaner production, energy balance, atmospheric emissions, biodiesel manufacturing, biofuels, Jatropha curcas, sustainable manufacturing, environmental impact, sustainability indicators, air pollution