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GIS proximity analysis and environmental assessment of sugar beet transport in Scania, Sweden

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Despite a heightened focus on sustainable transport and the increased use of biofuels, few studies have assessed the effects of such changes on a wider range of parameters. The aim of this study was to assess sugar beet transport in Scania, Sweden to determine how a switch to improved European vehicle standards and biodiesel impacts not only CO2 releases, but also the parameters of regional land use and air pollutants. The study estimated lorry travel distances by using a GIS-based proximity analysis. It then calculated fuel use and air emissions from standard diesel fuel for 2003 and for the vehicle standard improvements or biodiesel alternatives. Proximity analysis results revealed that roughly 4.2M km were travelled in moving beets to sugar processing facilities, resulting in the use of 2200 m3 of diesel and release of 5700 tons CO2. The shift to newer vehicle types improved fuel use efficiency and emissions. The switch to the biodiesel alternatives resulted in general decreases in air emissions, but increased fuel use and NOX emissions. The regional land needed to grow the biodiesel feedstock for beet transport ranged from 270 to 2700 ha, which can be considered an important obstacle when a switch is made by the greater road transport system.
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Keywords: Sweden; proximity analysis; rapeseed methyl ester (RME); sugar beet transport; sustainability; transport emissions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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