Impact of biofuel production on water demand in Alberta

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  • The production of biofuels (e.g., ethanol and biodiesel) requires a significant amount of water during feedstock production, transportation, and its conversion into biofuels. Therefore present study devoted to study the impact of biofuel production on water demand in Alberta. In scenario #1, it is assumed that ethanol is produced from both wheat and wheat straw and that biodiesel is produced from rapeseed. Scenario #2 proposes ethanol production from wheat only and biodiesel production from rapeseed. The water requirements for biofuel production in both scenarios are calculated for Alberta for the year 2025. Data on the current availability of water in Alberta indicate that the Athabasca, North Saskatchewan, and Peace River basins of northern Alberta have enough water to grow crops for the production of biofuels. In 2025, Alberta will have to produce 3,754 million liters of ethanol and 270 million liters of biodiesel to meet the projected levels. If biofuels are produced from the crops grown in the above-mentioned northern river basins, the province of Alberta should be able to meet biofuel demand in 2025 sustainably. The water requirement from these river basins for biofuel production will increase to 5.2%, 0.6%, and 11.6%, respectively, of the natural flow in scenario #1 whereas, for scenario #2, the water requirement from these rivers basins will increase to 5.2%, 2.3%, and 16.1%, respectively, of natural flow. These increases in the requirements are much lower than the possible allowed withdrawal levels.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
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    Attribution 4.0 International
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Singh, Shikhar, Kumar, Amit, & Jain, Siddharth. (2015). Impact of biofuel production on water demand in Alberta. Canadian Biosystems Engineering, 56, 8.11-8.22.
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