Energy flow in castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) production systems

Fluxos de energia em sistemas de produção de mamona (Ricinus communis L.)

Although energy analysis is a way to evaluate the sustainability of production systems, this practice is not often used in the agribusiness. In this context, the castor bean (Ricinus communis L) is an agricultural crop not yet well studied despite its great potential in the Brazilian energetic scenario. This article aimed to evaluate the productive potential of the castor bean oil, using an energetic view applied to two management systems: low (System 1) and medium (System 2) technologies. The quantification of the used material fluxes was made converting these factors in energy units. The input energy fluxes were 3,170.6 MJ ha¹ and 10,366.0 MJ ha¹ for Systems 1 and 2, respectively. The energy balance of System 1 was 11,938.2 MJ ha¹ and that of System 2 16,296.5 MJ ha¹. The net energetic gain or the energy gain over the invested energy (EROI) of System 1 was 3.8 and of System 2, 2.6. Although presenting a greater energy demand and a lower EROI, System 2 had a greater energy balance, demonstrating a better viability of this cultivation system for the production of castor bean oil.

Energetic balance; oil crops; production technology; cultivation systems

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