34 results found
Dale VH, Kline KL, Parish ES, et al., 2017, Status and prospects for renewable energy using wood pellets from the southeastern United States, GCB Bioenergy, Vol: 9, Pages: 1296-1305, ISSN: 1757-1693
Global Change Biology Bioenergy Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The ongoing debate about costs and benefits of wood-pellet based bioenergy production in the southeastern United States (SE USA) requires an understanding of the science and context influencing market decisions associated with its sustainability. Production of pellets has garnered much attention as US exports have grown from negligible amounts in the early 2000s to 4.6 million metric tonnes in 2015. Currently, 98% of these pellet exports are shipped to Europe to displace coal in power plants. We ask, ‘How is the production of wood pellets in the SE USA affecting forest systems and the ecosystem services they provide?’ To address this question, we review current forest conditions and the status of the wood products industry, how pellet production affects ecosystem services and biodiversity, and what methods are in place to monitor changes and protect vulnerable systems. Scientific studies provide evidence that wood pellets in the SE USA are a fraction of total forestry operations and can be produced while maintaining or improving forest ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are protected by the requirement to utilize loggers trained to apply scientifically based best management practices in planning and implementing harvest for the export market. Bioenergy markets supplement incomes to private rural landholders and provide an incentive for forest management practices that simultaneously benefit water quality and wildlife and reduce risk of fire and insect outbreaks. Bioenergy also increases the value of forest land to landowners, thereby decreasing likelihood of conversion to nonforest uses. Monitoring and evaluation are essential to verify that regulations and good practices are achieving goals and to enable timely responses if problems arise. Conducting rigorous research to understand how conditions change in response to management choices requires baseline data, monitoring, and
© Springer International Publishing AG 2017. This chapter deals with sustainability analysis of biorefinery systems in terms of environmental and socio-economic indicators. Life cycle analysis has methodological issues related to the functional unit (FU), allocation, land use and biogenic carbon neutrality of the reference system and of the biorefinery-based system. Socio-economic criteria and indicators used in sustainability frameworks assessment are presented and discussed. There is not one single methodology that can aptly cover the synergies of environmental, economic, social and governance issues required to assess the sustainable production and use of bioenergy systems. The perfect metric for environmental issues is not yet established and some researchers prefer to avoid high levels of uncertainty in life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology and adopt more physically quantifying methods like the annual basis carbon (ABC) method presented here. In addition to establishing the perfect metric, there are three types of uncertainty when building scenarios with biorefinery-based systems that must be regarded to have a more holistic point of view. This uncertainty is at the level of the concept, of the configuration and of the operation.
Diaz-Chavez RA, 2016, Book Review: “Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services”, Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, Vol: 18, ISSN: 1464-3332
Diaz-Chavez R, Stichnothe H, Johnson K, 2016, Sustainability Considerations for the Future Bioeconomy, Developing the Global Bioeconomy: Technical, Market, and Environmental Lessons from Bioenergy, Pages: 69-90, ISBN: 9780128051658
© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. It is critical to ensure the sustainability of biomass when used for energy, chemicals, and/or materials in the future bioeconomy. This does not only apply to the feedstock, a common focus within traditional bioenergy assessments; it also needs to consider the wider value chain, that is, from feedstock production through end use, including a range of coproducts, to end-of-life. The scope of such an assessment can vary but may be most practical at the "biorefinery" scale. Experience gained from first-generation biofuels offers lessons about sustainability challenges and prospects for the future bioeconomy. However, sustainability assessments of bioproducts require unique considerations, some of which are not necessarily addressed in the assessments of biofuels. We find that sustainability assessments are not "one-size-fits-all" and should engage stakeholders in determining clear goals and objectives for the assessment, consider the specific context, and maintain transparency in approach and assumptions. Sustainability is also not a steady state or fixed target. Sustainability assessments are most useful when they help decisionmakers and technology developers make continuous improvements across social, environmental, and economic dimensions. In addition to the traditional three-pillar approach, good governance is of equal importance and has to be implemented in sustainability assessment frameworks. As such, methodologies must continuously evolve to accommodate the increasingly diverse range of biomass-derived products within the future bioeconomy.
Meneses-Jácome A, Diaz-Chavez R, Velásquez-Arredondo HI, et al., 2015, Sustainable Energy from agro-industrial wastewaters in Latin-America, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 56, Pages: 1249-1262, ISSN: 1364-0321
Conventional biological processes used to treat high-polluted agro-industrial effluents produce biogas and sludge, two by-products stocking up important energy contents. Advanced biotechnologies to treat these effluents are being developed to obtain increased biogas production and other efficient and useful energy sources, such as bio-hydrogen and even bio-electricity. Utilization of these clean energies is significantly lower than other renewables, particularly in developing regions such as Latin-America. This occurs despite the close link between the environmental benefits and sustainable use of this energy, which might be incorporated in different sustainable strategies for local and regional development. This study reviews the 'state of the art' of Latin-American research regarding technologies for energy recovery from agro-industrial wastewaters and their sustainable implementation. It also discusses the need for a more sustainable management of the water-energy nexus in treatment systems used to decont minate effluents, which should be committed to the improvement of renewable energy production and to a more extended regional use. Contributions of methodologies based on life cycle assessment (LCA) and criteria-indicators used to drive sustainability studies in this field are updated and used to outline a conceptual framework advising sustainable practices in this sector.
Diaz-Chavez R, 2015, Assessing sustainability for biomass energy production and use, The Biomass Assessment Handbook: Energy for a Sustainable Environment, Pages: 181-209, ISBN: 9781138019645
Souza GM, Ballester MVR, Victoria RL, et al., 2015, Editorial note on bioenergy and sustainability-Bridging the gaps, Environmental Development, Vol: 15, Pages: 1-2, ISSN: 2211-4645
© 2014 The Authors. Biofuels, Bioproducts, Biorefining published by Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Mexico's government has introduced a Law on Climate Change that is unique worldwide; it establishes targets for greenhouse gases reductions at the same level of developed countries despite being an emerging country. This reform represents a crucial challenge for the electrical and transport sectors largely dependent on fossil energy since Mexico is the ninth-largest oil producer in the world. Local industry and academic sectors are called to lead the introduction of renewable energy sources, and particularly to enhance the share of energy from biomass in the local energy basket. Thus, this paper outlines the baseline on regulatory, energy, and carbon markets, and the scientific capacity to increase bioenergy utilization in Mexico. Furthermore, it opens a discussion about the steps forward with regard to sustainability and research needs, emphasizing some priorities and principles to develop a bioenergy system environmentally compatible in this country.
Moraes MAFD, Oliveira FCR, Diaz-Chavez RA, 2015, Socio-economic impacts of Brazilian sugarcane industry, Environmental Development, Vol: 16, Pages: 31-43, ISSN: 2211-4645
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. This paper analyzes the socio-economic impacts of the Brazilian sugar cane industry, examining the characteristics of the workforce, pay and working conditions. It also examines the role of the family on socio-economic indicators, comparing the indicators for first generation sugar cane workers with those for the second generation of workers, as well as comparing these indicators with those for workers in the agricultural sector as a whole. We draw on data from Relação Anual de Informações Sociais (RAIS) and also from Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (PNAD, or National Household Sample Survey). The findings show that together, the three key sectors that comprise the sugarcane industry in the country (sugar cane cultivation, sugar production and ethanol production) employed about one million workers in 2012. The results also show that family background plays a role on the choices made by second generation workers relative to work and thus impacting on the socio-economic indicators for the sectors. The comparison between indicators for the sugar cane sector and the overall agricultural sector showed differences, with the sugar cane sector being better off than the agricultural sector. Finally, the assessment of indicators for the second generation shows that they have face better choices and conditions than first-generation workers.
Diaz-Chavez RA, Colangeli M, Morese M, et al., 2015, Social Considerations., Bioenergy & Sustainability: Bridging the gaps, Editors: Souza, Victoria, Joly, Verdade, Publisher: SCOPE, ISBN: 978-2-9545557-0-6
Tomei J, Diaz-Chavez R, 2014, Guatemala, Sustainable Development of Biofuels in Latin America and the Caribbean, Pages: 179-201, ISBN: 9781461492740
© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014. All rights are reserved. The Central American isthmus is a region that has to date been largely overlooked in the biofuel debate, despite several countries currently developing biofuel policies and programs, including Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. This chapter provides an introduction to the biofuels sector in Central America, before focusing on Guatemala, which has been identified as the strongest potential leader in Central America for the production, trade, and consumption of biofuels. This potential is primarily due to high yields of sugarcane and oil palm, although at present only ethanol is being produced on a large scale; most of this production is currently exported. Furthermore, Guatemala has no national policy to promote a domestic market and it is unlikely that one will be developed in the short-to-medium term. This has consequences for the way in which the sector is developing in Guatemala and the sustainability issues associated with the production of the principal feedstocks. This chapter concludes that biofuels in Guatemala represent an industrial strategy rather than an energy policy, a sector driven by private interests with strategic concerns for sustainability.
Alemán-Nava GS, Casiano-Flores VH, Cárdenas-Chávez DL, et al., 2014, Renewable energy research progress in Mexico: a review, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 32, Pages: 140-153, ISSN: 1879-0690
Mexico ranks 9th in the world in crude oil reserves, 4th in natural gas reserves in America and it is also highly rich in renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomasss, hydropower and geothermal). However, the potential of this type of energy has not been fully exploited. Hydropower is the renewable energy source with the highest installed capacity within the country (11,603 MW), while geothermal power capacity (958 MW) makes Mexico to be ranked 4th in the use of this energy worldwide. Wind energy potential is concentrated in five different zones, mainly in the state of Oaxaca, and solar energy has a high potential due to Mexico's ideal location in the so called Solar Belt. Biomass energy has the highest potential (2635 to 3771 PJ/year) and has been the subject of the highest number of research publications in the country during the last 30 years (1982-2012). Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico has led research publications in hydropower, wind, solar and biomass energy and Instituto de Investigaciones Electricas in geothermal energy during this period. According to the General Law for Climate Change the country has set the goal of generating 35% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2024. This paper presents an overview of the renewable energy options available in Mexico, current status, main positive results to date and future potential. It also analyses barriers hindering improvements and proposes pertinent solutions. © 2014 The Authors.
Diaz-Chavez R, 2014, Indicators for socio-economic sustainability assessment, Socio-Economic Impacts of Bioenergy Production, Pages: 17-37, ISBN: 9783319038285
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014. All rights are reserved. Indicators have been used to organize, monitor and assess information in different contexts. During the last twenty years indicators have gained more importance, being used to assess sustainability performance of different activities through the implementation of standards. This chapter explores the evolution of the use of socio-economic indicators and their applicability in a relatively new production area, that of biofuels. The use of indicators has been more focused on environmental issues and compliance with voluntary schemes. Socio-economic indicators have gained more attention as a result of concerns with production of biofuels in developing countries. A set of indicators is proposed to monitor the possible impacts (both negative and positive). It is suggested that monitoring may help initiatives at national, regional and local level and may be combined with voluntary performance schemes in order to promote a sustainable production of biofuels.
Diaz-Chavez R, Vuohelainen A, 2014, Test auditing of socio-economic indicators for biofuel production, Socio-Economic Impacts of Bioenergy Production, Pages: 39-58, ISBN: 9783319038285
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014. All rights are reserved. The EU funded Global-Bio-Pact project developed a set of socio-economic impact indicators. The purpose was not to create a new standard or scheme for bioenergy production, but to compile a set of socio-economic sustainability criteria and indicators for biomass production and conversion which could be used by developers, governments, nongovernmental organizations or as an aid to existing standards. The set of indicators was tested in two locations in South America, which comprise the two case studies reported in the chapter. The selected indicators are introduced and discussed here, along with an assessment of the results from their application in the field.
Diaz-Chavez R, 2014, Indicators for socio-economic sustainability assessment, Socio-Economic Impacts of Bioenergy Production, Editors: Rutz, Janssen, Publisher: Springer, ISBN: 331903829X
Diaz-Chavez RA, 2013, AFRICA WIDE OVERVIEW OF JATROPHA PRODUCTION AND BIO-ENERGY, Agricultural Science, Vol: 14, Pages: 71-74, ISSN: 1030-4614
Diaz-Chavez RA, Mapako M, Farioli F, 2013, Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts and Contributions to Sustainability., Bioenergy for Sustainable Development and Economic Competitiveness. The role of Sugar Cane in Africa., Editors: Johnson, Seebaluck, Publisher: Earthscan, Routledge, ISBN: 1136529551
Diaz-Chavez RA, Lerner A, 2013, Certification and standards for sugar cane production in Africa. Development and application, Bioenergy for Sustainable Development and Economic Competitiveness. The role of Sugar Cane in Africa, Editors: Johnson, Seebaluck, Publisher: Routledge, ISBN: 1136529551
Diaz-Chavez RA, 2012, Land use for integrated systems: A bioenergy perspective, Environmental Development, Vol: 3, Pages: 91-99, ISSN: 2211-4645
Land and the use of land provide a key link between human activity and the natural environment. Traditionally, land has been a finite environmental resource. Land has been devoted to a variety of uses, such as food, for housing, as fibre and fodder. More recently, though, the discussion over the production of bioenergy crops for biofuels or for energy generation has put forward a new paradigm of land use. This paper reviews land use from the perspective of integrated systems, the new paradigm, and how it has evolved to make a contribution towards the reduction of greenhouse gases. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Diaz-Chavez RA, Woods J, 2012, Keynote introduction: Sustainability considerations for biofuels production in Africa, Bioenergy for sustainable development in Africa, Pages: 223-235, ISBN: 9789400721807
© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. All rights reserved. Different drivers have been identified for the promotion of bioenergy crops in both developed and developing countries. The interest in bioenergy projects and biofuels has been driven by a combination of factors, but primarily by initiatives on climate change to reduce GHG, to reduce dependency on oil fuels and by the potential for socio-economic development. At the same time this has led to an increasing concern with the wider implications of biofuels production, particularly if grown at large-scale. Such concerns include environmental sustainability, green house gases (GHG), land use changes and impacts on food prices. Verification systems offer a possibility to assure sustainable production, but have not fully addressed the perception of communities and the effects at different scales. This chapter focuses on sustainability considerations in Africa for bioenergy crops, the certification and verification implications and what is seen regionally as good practice.
Allen J, Sheate WR, Diaz-Chavez R, 2012, Community-based Renewable Energy in the Lake District National Park – Local Drivers, Enablers, Barriers and Solutions, Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, Vol: 17, Pages: 261-280
There are local energy solutions that offer the diversity and stability missing in the majority of centralised energy systems. Often, UK policies with top-down targets promote the quick fix rather than the most sustainable scheme and institutional and social barriers inhibit the local action needed to identify, plan and deliver the most valuable and appropriate alternatives. Community-based renewable energy (CRE) schemes promote area-based approaches aimed at simultaneously lowering energy consumption and increasing production.Interviews and case studies with public, private and community-based stakeholders in the Lake District National Park reveal the drivers, enablers and barriers to CRE schemes. Two solutions designed to catalyse and coordinate local action are proposed: CRE plans and champions. Together from the bottom-up, they help to generate, coordinate and communicate the necessary local knowledge, resources and trust to promote positive datasets on energy capacity, opportunity and need. Thus, planning becomes suitably strategic for achieving sustainable energy futures.
Diaz-Chavez RA, 2012, Rural and Social Development Guideline, Rural and Social Development Guideline., Chatelaine (Geneva) Switzerland, Publisher: Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials, RSB-GUI-01-005-02 (version 2.2)
Rural and social development is a term that is not well defined: it can mean many things to many people. The RSB has developed this document to assist operators and auditors assess the quality of the work done to support the economic and social development of poor and vulnerable people in poor rural areas affected by biofuel operations.These guidelines provide guidance on how to improve the socio-economic conditions of a given area. However, it is important to note that each context is different and each case has specific challenges and opportunities for which local stakeholder input is essential. For this reason, the RSB encourages the operators to work with affected communities and vulnerable households to find the best ways to improve their lives.
Diaz-Chavez RA, 2011, Assessing biofuels: Aiming for sustainable development or complying with the market?, Energy Policy, Vol: 39, Pages: 5763-5769, ISSN: 0301-4215
The growing interest in biofuels has led to increasing concern about their wider implications, particularly if grown for transport use in large scale. Such concerns include environmental, social and economic issues. To counterbalance the possible negative effects, a series of measures are being put in place to help their sustainability. Nevertheless, considering the different meanings of sustainability in different parts of the world and the need to expand productive rural activities, the differences between trying to assure a commodity and the benefits or impacts at local level raise the questions between the aims of sustainability and the need to comply with a market. The ideal situation would be to reconcile both aspects, which in practise represent a major challenge for governments and industry. This paper provides an overview on the sustainability assessment of biofuels to consider a possible way forward. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Diaz-Chavez RA, Woods J, 2011, SPECIAL SECTION Sustainability of biofuels, ENERGY POLICY, Vol: 39, Pages: 5681-5681, ISSN: 0301-4215
Black MJ, Whittaker C, Hosseini SA, et al., 2011, Life Cycle Assessment and sustainability methodologies for assessing industrial crops, processes and end products, Annual Meeting of the Association-for-the-Advancement-of-Industrial-Crops, Publisher: ELSEVIER, Pages: 1332-1339, ISSN: 0926-6690
Water quality is a measurement of the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of water against certain standards set to ensure ecological and/or human health. Biomass production and conversion to fuels and electricity can impact water quality in lakes, rivers, and aquifers with consequences for aquatic ecosystem health and also human water uses. Depending on how the bioenergy system is located and managed, it can lead to both water quality deterioration and to improvements. This review focuses on the effects of bioenergy on water quality, on ways to quantify these effects, and on options for reducing negative impacts. © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Watson HK, Diaz-Chavez RA, 2011, An assessment of the potential of drylands in eight sub-Saharan African countries to produce bioenergy feedstocks, Interface Focus, Vol: 1, Pages: 263-270, ISSN: 2042-8898
This paper synthesizes lessons learnt from research that aimed to identify land in the dryland regions of eight sub-Saharan African study countries where bioenergy feedstocks production has a low risk of detrimental environmental and socio-economic effects. The methodology involved using geographical information systems (GISs) to interrogate a wide range of datasets, aerial photograph and field verification, an extensive literature review, and obtaining information from a wide range of stakeholders. The GIS work revealed that Africa's drylands potentially have substantial areas available and agriculturally suitable for bioenergy feedstocks production. The other work showed that land-use and biomass dynamics in Africa's drylands are greatly influenced by the inherent 'disequilibrium' behaviour of these environments. This behaviour challenges the sustainability concept and perceptions regarding the drivers, nature and consequences of deforestation, land degradation and other factors. An assessment of the implications of this behaviour formed the basis for the practical guidance suggested for bioenergy feedstock producers and bioenergy policy makers. © 2011 The Royal Society.
Davis SC, House JI, Diaz-Chavez RA, et al., 2011, How can land-use modelling tools inform bioenergy policies?, Interface Focus, Vol: 1, Pages: 212-223, ISSN: 2042-8898
Targets for bioenergy have been set worldwide to mitigate climate change. Although feedstock sources are often ambiguous, pledges in European nations, the United States and Brazil amount to more than 100 Mtoe of biorenewable fuel production by 2020. As a consequence, the biofuel sector is developing rapidly, and it is increasingly important to distinguish bioenergy options that can address energy security and greenhouse gas mitigation from those that cannot. This paper evaluates how bioenergy production affects land-use change (LUC), and to what extent land-use modelling can inform sound decision-making. We identified local and global internalities and externalities of biofuel development scenarios, reviewed relevant data sources and modelling approaches, identified sources of controversy about indirect LUC (iLUC) and then suggested a framework for comprehensive assessments of bioenergy. Ultimately, plant biomass must be managed to produce energy in a way that is consistent with the management of food, feed, fibre, timber and environmental services. Bioenergy production provides opportunities for improved energy security, climate mitigation and rural development, but the environmental and social consequences depend on feedstock choices and geographical location. The most desirable solutions for bioenergy production will include policies that incentivize regionally integrated management of diverse resources with low inputs, high yields, co-products, multiple benefits and minimal risks of iLUC. Many integrated assessment models include energy resources, trade, technological development and regional environmental conditions, but do not account for biodiversity and lack detailed data on the location of degraded and underproductive lands that would be ideal for bioenergy production. Specific practices that would maximize the benefits of bioenergy production regionally need to be identified before a global analysis of bioenergy-related LUC can be accomplished. © 2011
Diaz-Chavez R, Jamieson C, 2010, Biofuels possibilities in the Southern Africa context, Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, Vol: 4, Pages: 256-266, ISSN: 1556-6560
Biofuels have been produced in Southern Africa for a number of years, from different crops with particular emphasis on ethanol production from sugar cane. The possibilities of increasing land use, yields and new crops for biofuel production vary from one country to another and are also dependent on available resources, such as water. Concerns relating to increasing biofuel production to large scale, relate to the policy mechanisms and regulations in place regarding sustainability, available and suitable energy crops, options to improve yields, land availability and investment and infrastructure availability. This paper presents an overview of these aspects and the future possibilities of biofuels production in Southern Africa. Although the region presents a great potential for the growth of certain crops (e.g., sugar cane, sweet sorghum), local characteristics need to be considered in order to support substantial increases in production. Copyright© 2010 American Scientific Publishers.
Diaz-Chavez RA, 2010, The role of biofuels in promoting rural development, Food versus Fuel: An Informed Introduction, Editors: Rosillo-Calle, Johnson, Publisher: Zed Books, UK, ISBN: 9781848133822
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