Keywords: energy balance, life cycle assessment, LCA, Jatropha Curcas Linnaeus, JCL, biodiesel production, biofuels, Tunisia, energy analysis, oleaginous plants, investment costs, low yield, energy return
Energy analysis and potentials of biodiesel production from Jatropha Curcas in Tunisia
Oleaginous plants such as Jatropha Curcas Linnaeus (JCL), not intended for human consumption but used for biodiesel production, could contribute to beneficial outcomes. This plant grows on poor land (arid and marginal land) and is drought resistant. Jatropha Curcas is native to South America and widely grown in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia (Achten et al., 2007; Kumar et al., 2011). Some areas in Tunisia may be suitable for JCL, although not for food production. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the energy performance and potential of Jatropha Curcas for biodiesel production in Tunisia. The evaluation will be completed through the elaboration of an energy balance using life cycle assessment (LCA), which will facilitate the decision making process. Therefore, the cultivation of JCL production in Tunisia will be an experiment with uncertain results. The energy assessment reveals a negative energy return (EE = 0.42). Because of high investment costs and low yield per hectare, Jatropha is not a sound economic choice.