Life cycle assessment of winter rape production in large-area farms with intensive cultivation system
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he European Union places great emphasis on the use of renewable energy sources in the energy industries. The share of bio-components in liquid fuels consumption is expected to reach 10% by the end of 2020. A consequence of this regulation is the increased cropping area of rapeseed in Poland. The aim of the study was to quantify the environmental impact associated with winter rape production along the life cycle stages. The method used to calculate the overall environmental profile of rapeseed was the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Analysis was based on the case study of two large-area farms in the Wielkopolska region carried out in the years 2011–2013. Our study showed that fertilizer operation was the largest contributor to the environmental impact categories, representing almost 99 percent of the acidification potential and 77 percent of the global warming potential. Among the components of fertiliz- ing operations, field application of nitrogen fertilizers generated the highest load of greenhouse gas emissions. It is concluded that the data obtained characterizes the con- ventional type of rapeseed production in the Wielkopolska region and can be used as source material for extending the LCA to the rapeseed processing industry which receive the material from the local suppliers.
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