Energy balance of sunflower production
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The aim of the present study was to make an energy analysis of sunflower crop in the Trakya Region of Turkey, to evaluate the potential for using it as bioenergy source. Actual data for the common cropping practices applied in the region were collected with questionnaires given to the farmers. Literature data were used to obtain necessary energy indices. The collected information was used to establish energy budgets. Two alternative scenarios were examined: 1st - Using only the seed for biofuel production and 2nd -using the seed for biofuel and the stalks as biomass for bioenergy. The results showed that sunflower presented positive energy balance for both cases. Net energy was 35,334 MJ ha-1 when only the seed was taken into account and 87,308 MJ ha-1 for both seed and stalks. Energy efficiency was 3.67 and 7.34 respectively. Fertilization was the most energy intensive input (6,594 MJ ha-1 ) accounting for 48–50% of the total inputs. Tillage was the second most energy intensive input (3,595 MJ ha-1 ) accounting for 26–27% of total inputs. There were 6 different tillage operations such as ploughing, 4 machinery passages for seedbed preparation and hoeing in the sunflower production. All these operations increased energy inputs of the tillage. The total energy inputs were relatively low because it was possible to achieve high yields without irrigation.