Life-cycle analysis and the ecology of biofuels

Sarah C. Davis, Kristina J. Anderson-Teixeira, Evan H. DeLucia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Biofuels have been proposed as an ecologically benign alternative to fossil fuels. There is, however, considerable uncertainty in the scientific literature about their ecological benefit. Here, we review studies that apply life-cycle analysis (LCA), a computational tool for assessing the efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of energy systems, to biofuel feedstocks. Published values for energy efficiency and GHG differ significantly even for an individual species, and we identify three major sources of variation in these LCA results. By providing new information on biogeochemistry and plant physiology, ecologists and plant scientists can increase the accuracy of LCA for biofuel production systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-146
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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