83 results found
Nunes Ferraz Junior AD, Etchebehere C, Perecin D, et al., 2022, Advancing anaerobic digestion of sugarcane vinasse: Current development, struggles and future trends on production and end-uses of biogas in Brazil, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 157, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 1364-0321
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a multipurpose technology. One of the AD outcomes is biogas that can be used to supply a local thermal demand, electricity generation or upgraded to fuel vehicle. Brazil has the largest potential for producing biogas, due to its extensive agroindustrial production plus the fact that the country has a population of over 210 million inhabitants. The Brazilian Association of Biogas and Biomethane (ABiogás) reports a potential biogas production of 41.4 billion m3 per year in the sugar-energy sector. However, less than 2% of this is achieved, indicating that the biogas is still chemically, economically, and politically invisible. The current technologies for the production, purification and end-use of biogas/biomethane were reviewed and presented in the context of sugarcane biorefineries. One of the major findings has indicated a thermal efficiency of 85% and a national grid surplus of 74–121 kWh.ton−1 sugarcane when steam boilers connected to electricity generators are used. Alternatively, a quarter of the vinasse generated by a medium-size sugarcane mill (600 m3 d−1) would be enough to supply the diesel consumption of on agricultural operations. The motivation of this review came from the fact that normally renewable energy does not reach its potential due to the lack of references on technological, regulatory and management in their productive arrangements: essential aspects to make them feasible. Therefore, it is expected to strengthen the panorama of research in the biogas system to properly fit with the current expansion and diversification of the Brazilian energy matrix.
Nunes Ferraz Júnior AD, Machado PG, Jalil-Vega F, et al., 2022, Liquefied biomethane from sugarcane vinasse and municipal solid waste: Sustainable fuel for a green-gas heavy duty road freight transport corridor in Sao Paulo state, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol: 335, Pages: 1-19, ISSN: 0959-6526
Diversifying the energy components of a country's transport sector is essential to guarantee the fuel supply to consumers and increase the market dynamics and competitiveness. Among the known alternative fuels, biogas is a renewable source and after upgrading to biomethane, it presents a similar composition to natural gas (>90% of CH4; 35–40 MJ m−3). In addition, it can be produced from a wide variety of biological resources and at different scales In this study, two scenarios have been developed that evaluate the use of liquefied biomethane (LBM) as a diesel replacement option in the freight sector of an area of 248,223 km2 (equivalent to the area of the UK). Sugarcane vinasse (SVC) and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) were the sole feedstocks for biogas production. The first scenario, non-restricted scenario (NRS), covered the entire territory while, the second scenario, restricted scenario (RS), includes only the area where gas pipelines are available. An economic assessment of the entire biogas value chain including, biogas production units, purification, transport and end-use was performed. The minimum selling price (MSP) of biomethane throughout the biogas chain was then estimated. LBM is estimated to be a cost-effective and affordable fuel choice compared to diesel. The technical potential of biogas production by the sugarcane mills and landfills of Sao Paulo state can replace up to half of the diesel consumed in the territory. The minimum distances and optimal locations methodology indicated the need for 120 liquefaction plants in the NRS, 35 injection points in the RS, and 7 refuelling stations to supply LBM throughout the state of Sao Paulo. The units for CO2 removal had the greatest influence on capital costs (∼60%) in both scenarios. Expenditure associated with the gas injection operation and its transport comprised more than 90% of the operating costs of the RS. Electricity purchasing represented the highest share of the operating costs at
Strapasson A, Ferreira M, Cruz-Cano D, et al., 2022, The use of system dynamics for energy and environmental education, International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, Vol: 19, Pages: 1-31, ISSN: 2365-9440
The use of system dynamics as a learning tool for developing sustainable energy strategies and environmental education has advanced in recent years with the availability of new modelling software and webtools. Among the existing models, we highlight the online 2050 Calculators, which aim at simulating scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions, energy planning, sustainable land use, and food consumption. The objective of this study is to assess the available calculators and their contribution to an interdisciplinary education via systems thinking. We carried out a review of the existing models worldwide and ran some of the tools with students from three different postgraduate programmes at master’s level at Imperial College London (United Kingdom) and IFP School (France), whilst also assessing their individual views afterwards. The assessments were conducted once a year during three subsequent years: 2019, 2020, and 2021. The results are discussed under the epistemology of critical pedagogy, showing that the use of webtools, such as the 2050 Calculators, can significantly contribute to thestudents’ environmental awareness and political engagement, providing important lessons about the use of system dynamics for policy and science education.
Stevenson S, Collins A, Jennings N, et al., 2021, Correction to: A hybrid approach to identifying and assessing interactions between climate action (SDG13) policies and a range of SDGs in a UK context, Discover Sustainability, Vol: 2
Stevenson S, Collins A, Jennings N, et al., 2021, A hybrid approach to identifying and assessing interactions between climate action (SDG13) policies and a range of SDGs in a UK context, Discover Sustainability, Vol: 2, ISSN: 2662-9984
In 2015 the United Nations drafted the Paris Agreement and established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all nations. A question of increasing relevance is the extent to which the pursuit of climate action (SDG 13) interacts both positively and negatively with other SDGs. We tackle this question through a two-pronged approach: a novel, automated keyword search to identify linkages between SDGs and UK climate-relevant policies; and a detailed expert survey to evaluate these linkages through specific examples. We consider a particular subset of SDGs relating to health, economic growth, affordable and clean energy and sustainable cities and communities. Overall, we find that of the 89 UK climate-relevant policies assessed, most are particularly interlinked with the delivery of SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and that certain UK policies, like the Industrial Strategy and 25-Year Environment Plan, interlink with a wide range of SDGs. Focusing on these climate-relevant policies is therefore likely to deliver a wide range of synergies across SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 7, 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 11, 14 (Life Below Water) and 15 (Life on Land). The expert survey demonstrates that in addition to the range of mostly synergistic interlinkages identified in the keyword search, there are also important potential trade-offs to consider. Our analysis provides an important new toolkit for the research and policy communities to consider interactions between SDGs, which can be employed across a range of national and international contexts.
Sevigné-Itoiz E, Mwabonje O, Panoutsou C, et al., 2021, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): informing the development of a Sustainable Circular Bioeconomy, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol: 379, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 1364-503X
The role of LCA in informing the development of a sustainable and circular bioeconomyis discussed. We analyse the critical challenges remaining in using LCA and propose improvements needed to resolve future development challenges. Biobased systems are often complex combinations of technologies and practices that are geographically dispersed overlong distances and with heterogeneous and uncertain sets of indicators and impacts. Recent studies have provided methodological suggestions on how LCA can be improved for evaluating the sustainability of biobased systems with a new focus on emerging systems, helping to identify environmental and social opportunities prior to large R&D investments. However, accessing economies of scale and improved conversion efficiencies whilst maintaining compatibility across broad ranges of sustainability indicators and public acceptability remain key challenges for the bioeconomy. LCA can inform, but not by itself resolve this complex dimension of sustainability. Future policy interventions that aim to promote the bioeconomy and support strategic value chains will benefit from the systematic use of LCA. However, the LCA community needs to develop the mechanisms and tools needed to generate agreement and coordinate the standards and incentives that will underpin a successful biobased transition. Systematic stakeholder engagement and the use of multidisciplinary analysis in combination with LCA are essential components of emergent LCA methods.
Strapasson A, Falcão J, Rossberg T, et al., 2021, Land Use Change and the European Biofuels Policy: The expansion of oilseed feedstocks on lands with high carbon stocks, Turkey, 3rd Bioenergy Studies Symposium, Publisher: TAGEM and UNIDO, Pages: 69-69
Cowie AL, Berndes G, Bentsen NS, et al., 2021, Applying a science‐based systems perspective to dispel misconceptions about climate effects of forest bioenergy, GCB Bioenergy, Vol: 13, Pages: 1210-1231, ISSN: 1757-1693
The scientific literature contains contrasting findings about the climate effects of forest bioenergy, partly due to the wide diversity of bioenergy systems and associated contexts, but also due to differences in assessment methods. The climate effects of bioenergy must be accurately assessed to inform policy-making, but the complexity of bioenergy systems and associated land, industry and energy systems raises challenges for assessment. We examine misconceptions about climate effects of forest bioenergy and discuss important considerations in assessing these effects and devising measures to incentivize sustainable bioenergy as a component of climate policy. The temporal and spatial system boundary and the reference (counterfactual) scenarios are key methodology choices that strongly influence results. Focussing on carbon balances of individual forest stands and comparing emissions at the point of combustion neglect system-level interactions that influence the climate effects of forest bioenergy. We highlight the need for a systems approach, in assessing options and developing policy for forest bioenergy that: (1) considers the whole life cycle of bioenergy systems, including effects of the associated forest management and harvesting on landscape carbon balances; (2) identifies how forest bioenergy can best be deployed to support energy system transformation required to achieve climate goals; and (3) incentivizes those forest bioenergy systems that augment the mitigation value of the forest sector as a whole. Emphasis on short-term emissions reduction targets can lead to decisions that make medium- to long-term climate goals more difficult to achieve. The most important climate change mitigation measure is the transformation of energy, industry and transport systems so that fossil carbon remains underground. Narrow perspectives obscure the significant role that bioenergy can play by displacing fossil fuels now, and supporting energy system transition. Greater transp
Kakadellis S, Woods J, Harris ZM, 2021, Friend or foe: Stakeholder attitudes towards biodegradable plastic packaging in food waste anaerobic digestion, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol: 169, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 0921-3449
Consumers are becoming increasingly attuned to sustainability issues in the food supply chain and demanding retailers to keep pace with their changing expectations. The visual nature of plastic pollution has strengthened public awareness of the environmental impact of plastic packaging. Against this backdrop, biodegradable plastics have been promoted as an alternative to conventional polymers, offering the potential to tackle hard-to-recycle plastics while being compatible with food waste recycling. Given increased recognition of food waste as an untapped resource worldwide and the incoming policy mandating separate collections for household and commercial food waste across the EU from 2023, anaerobic digestion is a particularly promising strategy and can make an important contribution to the transition to circular waste management practices. However, currently no industrial standard exists for ‘digestible’ packaging. Our research addresses stakeholder attitudes towards the treatment of biodegradable plastic packaging in food waste anaerobic digestion. We conducted 19 semi-structured interviews with a range of stakeholders, including the biowaste recycling sector, retail, governmental bodies and environmental charities. Qualitative data were categorised into thematic nodes based on inductive and deductive strategies. Content analysis showed significantly divergent views on biodegradable plastics. Though most respondents acknowledged the merits of biodegradable plastics, concerns over their compatibility with the current anaerobic digestion infrastructure (e.g. systematic depackaging, retention times) and their ultimate biodegradability were raised. In light of these issues, potential solutions are discussed and the role that legislation and consumer education can play in ensuring that the anaerobic digestion sector can accommodate these novel materials are highlighted.
Vallejo L, Mazur C, Strapasson A, et al., 2021, Halving Global CO2 Emissions by 2050: Technologies and Costs, International Energy Journal, Vol: 21, Pages: 147-158, ISSN: 1513-718X
This study provides a whole-systems simulation on how to halve global CO2 emissions by 2050, compared to 2010, with an emphasis on technologies and costs, in order to avoid a dangerous increase in the global mean surface temperature by end the of this century. There still remains uncertainty as to how much a low-carbon energy system costs compared to a high-carbon system. Integrated assessment models (IAMs) show a large range of costs of mitigation towards the 2°C target, with up to an order of magnitude difference between the highest and lowest cost, depending on a number of factors including model structure, technology availability and costs, and the degree of feedback with the wider macro-economy. A simpler analysis potentially serves to highlight where costs fall and to what degree. Here we show that the additional cost of a low-carbon energy system is less than 1% of global GDP more than a system resulting from low mitigation effort. The proposed approach aligns with some previous IAMs and other projections discussed in the paper, whilst also providing a clearer and more detailed view of the world. Achieving this system by 2050, with CO2 emissions of about 15GtCO2, depends heavily on decarbonisation of the electricity sector to around 100gCO2/kWh, as well as on maximising energy efficiency potential across all sectors. This scenario would require a major mitigation effort in all the assessed world regions. However, in order to keep the global mean surface temperature increase below 1.5°C, it would be necessary to achieve net-zero emission by 2050, requiring a much further mitigation effort.
Ni Y, Richter GM, Mwabonje ON, et al., 2020, Novel integrated agricultural land management approach provides sustainable biomass feedstocks for bioplastics and supports the UK’s “net-zero” target, Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1748-9326
We investigate the potential in producing biodegradable bio-plastics to support the emergent 'Net-Zero' Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions targets in the UK. A 'cradle to grave' Life Cycle Assessment was developed to evaluate GHG mitigation potentials of bio-based polybutylene succinate plastics produced from wheat straw-only (single feedstock) or wheat straw plus Miscanthus (mixed feedstocks) agricultural supply systems. For scenarios using mixed feedstocks, significant carbon mitigation potentials were identified at catchment and national levels (emission reduction of 30 kg CO2eq /kg plastic compared to petroleum-based alternatives), making the system studied a significant net carbon sink at marginal GHG abatement costs of £-0.5 to 14.9 /t CO2eq. We show that an effective 'Net-Zero' transition of the UK's agricultural sector needs spatially explicit, diversified and integrated cropping strategies. Such integration of perennial bio-materials into food production systems can unlock cost-effective terrestrial carbon sequestration. Research & Development and scale-up will lower costs helping deliver a sustainable bioeconomy and transition to 'Net-Zero'.
Dale BE, Bozzetto S, Couturier C, et al., 2020, The potential for expanding sustainable biogas production and some possible impacts in specific countries, Biofuels Bioproducts & Biorefining-Biofpr, Vol: 14, Pages: 1335-1347, ISSN: 1932-1031
Current food production practices tend to damage and deplete soil, diminish biodiversity, and degrade water supplies. For agriculture to become environmentally sustainable and simultaneously increase food output for a growing world population, fundamental changes in agricultural production systems are required. Renewable energy can reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) but we also need simple, low‐cost approaches to remove atmospheric carbon and sequester it in stable forms. Recycling of digestate from the anaerobic digestion of agricultural and waste materials to soils can sequester atmospheric carbon and provide many other economic, social and environmental benefits. Biogasdoneright™ (BDR) is a set of practices that link biogas production with sustainable agriculture. The BDR approach to sustainable agriculture is being implemented on a large scale in Italy. In this paper, we examine the potential impact of implementing BDR in selected other countries. The biomethane potential in these countries, estimated conservatively, varies from about 10–30% of their current annual natural gas consumption. Biomethane from sequential (double) crops provides by far the greatest fraction of the biomethane potential. Double cropping also drives many of the environmental and economic benefits of BDR systems. Depending on where and how widely it is implemented, the production of biogas in BDR systems could have very significant national‐level impacts. For example, sufficient biomethane could be produced in Argentina to completely eliminate imports of natural gas, equivalent to about 28% of Argentina's 2017 trade deficit. In the USA, renewable biogas could generate electricity equal to nearly all of the electricity currently produced by domestic solar and wind resources. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Anejionu OCD, Di Lucia L, Woods J, 2020, Geospatial modelling of environmental and socioeconomic impacts of large-scale production of advanced biofuel, Biomass and Bioenergy, Vol: 142, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 0961-9534
Seferidi P, Scrinis G, Huybrechts I, et al., 2020, The neglected environmental impacts of ultra-processed foods, The Lancet Planetary Health, Vol: 4, Pages: e437-e438, ISSN: 2542-5196
Strapasson A, Woods J, Meessen J, et al., 2020, EU land use futures: modelling food, bioenergy and carbon dynamics, Energy Strategy Reviews, Vol: 31, Pages: 100545-100545, ISSN: 2211-467X
This paper presents an original system dynamics model, which aims to assess how changes in diet, agricultural practices, bioenergy and forestry could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We demonstrate that changes in types and quantities of food consumed and reductions in food wastes along with sustainable bioenergy and forestry dynamics would materially assist the EU in meeting its 2050 climate mitigation obligations. We find that overall rates of EU-28 greenhouse gas emissions are highly sensitive to the food trade balance, both within and outside the EU. Land use itself is often under-represented as a major option for carbon mitigation in policy strategies, but our results show that it must become a central component aligned with energy system decarbonization if material levels of warming mitigation are to be achieved.
Hannon JR, Lynd LR, Andrade O, et al., 2020, Technoeconomic and life-cycle analysis of single-step catalytic conversion of wet ethanol into fungible fuel blendstocks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol: 117, Pages: 12576-12583, ISSN: 0027-8424
Technoeconomic and life-cycle analyses are presented for catalytic conversion of ethanol to fungible hydrocarbon fuel blendstocks, informed by advances in catalyst and process development. Whereas prior work toward this end focused on 3-step processes featuring dehydration, oligomerization, and hydrogenation, the consolidated alcohol dehydration and oligomerization (CADO) approach described here results in 1-step conversion of wet ethanol vapor (40 wt% in water) to hydrocarbons and water over a metal-modified zeolite catalyst. A development project increased liquid hydrocarbon yields from 36% of theoretical to >80%, reduced catalyst cost by an order of magnitude, scaled up the process by 300-fold, and reduced projected costs of ethanol conversion 12-fold. Current CADO products conform most closely to gasoline blendstocks, but can be blended with jet fuel at low levels today, and could potentially be blended at higher levels in the future. Operating plus annualized capital costs for conversion of wet ethanol to fungible blendstocks are estimated at $2.00/GJ for CADO today and $1.44/GJ in the future, similar to the unit energy cost of producing anhydrous ethanol from wet ethanol ($1.46/GJ). Including the cost of ethanol from either corn or future cellulosic biomass but not production incentives, projected minimum selling prices for fungible blendstocks produced via CADO are competitive with conventional jet fuel when oil is $100 per barrel but not at $60 per barrel. However, with existing production incentives, the projected minimum blendstock selling price is competitive with oil at $60 per barrel. Life-cycle greenhouse gas emission reductions for CADO-derived hydrocarbon blendstocks closely follow those for the ethanol feedstock.
Strapasson A, Woods J, Pérez-Cirera V, et al., 2020, Modelling carbon mitigation pathways by 2050: insights from the global calculator, Energy Strategy Reviews, Vol: 29, Pages: 100494-100494, ISSN: 2211-467X
The Global Calculator (GC) can be used to assess a wide range of climate change mitigation pathways. The GC is an accessible integrated model which calculates the cumulative emissions of a basket of the main greenhouse gases that result from a set of technological and lifestyle choices made at the global level and as defined by the user within a single system dynamics tool. Using the GC, we simulated ambitious scenarios against business as usual trends in order to stay below 2oC and 1.5oC of maximum temperature change by the end of this century and carried out a sensitivity analysis of the entire GC model option space. We show that the calculator is useful for making broad simulations for energy, carbon and land use dynamics, and demonstrate how combined and sustained mitigation efforts across different sectors are urgently needed to meet climate targets.
Woods J, Hoare V, 2020, Comprehending Climate Complexities: The Global and European Calculators are tools that can be used for both exploring the future of our climate and working out what can be done about it., GEOExPro
Strapasson A, Mwabonje O, Woods J, et al., 2020, Pathways towards a fair and just net-zero emissions Europe by 2050: Insights from the EUCalc for carbon mitigation strategies, Publisher: European Commission, 9
HEADLINES:• Achieving socially just and sustainable transition to a net-zero emissions Europe by 2050 requires urgent and substantive changes in the use of technology and the behavioural choices of its people. • These changes will be pervasive, covering all sectors of the economy, from transport, manufacturing, agriculture and power generation. The choices we make as individuals and as national governments of services and goods we produce and consume, e.g. the foods we grow and eat, the sizes of our households and how we heat and cool them, our mobility and in our trading relationships with the rest of the world, are key determinants of successfully meeting the climate challenge. • It is possible to achieve a net-zero greenhouse gas emission in Europe by 2050, in time to meet global climate targets, but it requires unprecedented levels of innovations in technologies and in the adoption of sustainable lifestyles, diets and land use. • Avoiding confounding carbon leakage: the international trade balance (imports vs. exports) in the EU has and will continue to have a significant impact on internal EU and external (rest of the world) greenhouse gas emissions, materially affecting the EU’s timeline to achieving net zero and globally effective climate mitigation.• Policies that support the accelerated decoupling of economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions are needed along with incentives for the rest of the world to decarbonise if confounding leakage is to be avoided. • No single sector can, by itself, materially reduce or sequester greenhouse gases; however, actions affecting the carbon stocks on land and the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are urgently required. • Systemic changes at personal, local, national and regional levels are all important and publicly acceptable policies for transitioning to a net-zero emissions society are fundamental in order to meet the EU climate change targets. • Tools, such as th
Strapasson A, Woods J, Donaldson A, 2020, Bulb Calculator: An Independent Review, London, Publisher: Imperial College Consultants
Report commissioned by Bulb Energy Limited (UK). This report is the independent expert opinion of the authors.
Baudry G, Mwabonje O, Strapasson A, et al., 2020, Mitigating GHG Emissions through Agriculture and Sustainable Land Use: An Overview on the EUCalc Food & Land Module, www.european-calculator.eu, Publisher: European Commission, 5
HEADLINES:• Several options are available for evaluating potential agriculture and land use interventions by 2050, including: climate smart production systems for crops, livestock and forestry products, land management, alternative protein sources for livestock, bioenergy, and the management of organic wastes and residues.• Agriculture and land use can either help mitigate GHG emissions through enhancing the net land carbon sink or exacerbate emissions by emitting more GHGs than are taken up overtime.• With combined action at the highest levels of mitigation ambition in the food (supply and demand) and agricultural sectors, we estimate that over 1 000 Million tonnes of CO2 removals per year could be generated by 2050. This would require systemic, sustained and transformative change in the levels of technological and behavioural innovation applied in all EU Member States. • Changes in diet are a significant driver that enable and/or disable the range and extent of the sustainable mitigation options for the agricultural production system. Agroecology is a suitable option for the European agriculture production system, only when a dietary shift occurs that reduces demand for high emission agricultural products. • Agricultural intensification can ‘free up’ the land needed, expanding forests and grasslands, but there are inherent limits for achieving sustainable intensification without causing major impacts on animal welfare, biodiversity and natural resources such as water and plant nutrients.• The EU international food trade balance (imports vs. exports) has and will continue to have a significant impact on land use dynamics inside and outside Europe. • Climate change mitigation efforts on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) and sustainable biomass provision are fundamental components in achieving a net zero-emission pathway, when carefully implemented along with ambitious levels of mitigation in the transport
Anejionu OCD, Woods J, 2019, Preliminary farm-level estimation of 20-year impact of introduction of energy crops in conventional farms in the UK, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 116, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 1364-0321
There is a renewed interest in large-scale production of non-food energy crops in the UK to enable it to meet its renewable energy targets. There are strong indications that with increasing demand for biomass feedstocks, energy crops will be grown in arable farms alongside food crops. This raises environmental, socio-political and economic concerns on the energy-food-environment balance. It also raises a fundamental question on where and how much bioenergy crop could be cultivated in farms without adversely affecting food production and ecosystem services. Therefore, this research sets out to firstly ascertain whether the introduction of bioenergy crops in conventional farms could have beneficial or adverse effects on food production and the environment, and secondly, to explore various strategies through which bioenergy crops could be integrated in farms. Spatially explicit datasets and models were used to investigate the interaction of energy and food crops at the farm level, and associated effects over a 20-year period. Using appropriate biophysical and biomass indicators the impacts of were assessed. This study found that careful integration of Miscanthus in farms is beneficial as it reduces sediment and nutrient loss, and increases biomass yield, without adversely affecting food production. This research is significant as it demonstrates the potential of largescale production of bioenergy crops from fragmented sources. It also presented effective strategies through which bioenergy crops can co-exist with food crops, without leading to the food-energy-environment trilemma.
Strapasson A, Falcão J, Rossberg T, et al., 2019, Land use change and the European biofuels policy: The expansion of oilseed feedstocks on lands with high carbon stocks, OCL - Oilseeds and fats, crops and lipids, Vol: 26, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2272-6977
The focus of this article is on the potential land use change impacts associated with the oilseed-based biodiesel consumption. The three main crops used for biodiesel production to date are oilseed rape (OSR), soybeans and oil palm. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to provide a technical assessment of potential land use change arising from the growth of these three major crops at global level, obtained through a broad country-level analysis for their respective major producing countries. The article presents an historical data analysis, evaluating the interaction between the expansion and contraction of these three crops over the last three decades (with a closer look from 2008) together with the carbon stock changes to the land. We categorise the land use by its carbon stock and resulting carbon stock changes from land use change. Crops aimed at the production of ethanol, such as maize (corn), sugarcane, wheat, cassava and sugar beet, although extremely relevant for biofuel policies, are not the subject of this present study. While we did not know at the time of writing this report how the term “significant” would be defined in the EU delegated act we concluded from the analysis of the historical data and using the high ILUC-risk definition as it stands, that the emissions associated with palm and soy are significant. For oil palm, we take Indonesia and Malaysia as proxy for the global position. We calculate an average expansion of 29% on high carbon stock land. For soy, we calculate a global average of 19% expansion. We calculate the global average greenhouse gas emissions intensities based on the ILUC-risks as 56 gCO2eq/MJ for soy oil and 108 gCO2eq/MJ for palm oil. Future projections (OECD-FAO, 2017) suggest these numbers could drop significantly. We do not find evidence for high ILUC-risk expansion of oilseed rape.
Ni Y, Mwabonje ON, Richter GM, et al., 2019, Assessing availability and greenhouse gas emissions of lignocellulosic biomass feedstock supply - case study for a catchment in England, Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, Vol: 13, Pages: 568-581, ISSN: 1932-104X
Feedstocks from lignocellulosic biomass (LCB) include crop residues and dedicated perennial biomass crops. The latter are often considered superior in terms of climate change mitigation potential. Uncertainty remains over their availability as feedstocks for biomass provision and the net greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) during crop production. Our objective was to assess the optimal land allocation to wheat and Miscanthus in a specific case study located in England, to increase biomass availability, improve the carbon balance (and reduce the consequent GHG emissions), and minimally constrain grain production losses from wheat. Using soil and climate variables for a catchment in east England, biomass yields and direct nitrogen emissions were simulated with validated process‐based models. A ‘Field to up‐stream factory gate’ life‐cycle assessment was conducted to estimate indirect management‐related GHG emissions. Results show that feedstock supply from wheat straw can be supplemented beneficially with LCB from Miscanthus grown on selected low‐quality soils. In our study, 8% of the less productive arable land area was dedicated to Miscanthus, increasing total LCB provision by about 150%, with a 52% reduction in GHG emission per ton LCB delivered and only a minor effect on wheat grain production (−3%). In conclusion, even without considering the likely carbon sequestration in impoverished soils, agriculture should embrace the opportunities to provide the bioeconomy with LCB from dedicated, perennial crops.
Strapasson A, Falcão J, Rossberg T, et al., 2019, Land Use Change and the European Biofuels Policy: The expansion of oilseed feedstocks on lands with high carbon stocks, Bedford, United Kingdom, Publisher: LCAworks
Chandra VV, Hemstock SL, Mwabonje ON, et al., 2018, Life cycle assessment of sugarcane growing process in Fiji, Sugar Tech, Vol: 20, Pages: 692-699, ISSN: 0972-1525
Sugarcane is an economically important crop in Fiji as it has considerable impact on the gross domestic product and around 22% (200,000) of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on the sugarcane industry. Considering the importance of this crop, a life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed in order to understand environmental impacts. In this paper, Fijian sugarcane production was assessed to produce a set of LCA results for defined impacts. The results can be used in subsequent assessments of sugarcane-related products and provide significant insights into the current impacts. Life cycle impact assessment results were generated using CML, ReCiPe and Impact 2002 + models running in Open LCA software using the Ecoinvent database. This connected the system flows and process flow to the product systems in order to calculate the life cycle impact assessment results to be based on local data for comparable and accurate evaluation. Previous analysis revealed that sugarcane production has a considerable impact on global warming potential because of the significant use of fossil fuels in farm machineries and transportation, and the production and use of agrochemicals. Results from this study show that sugarcane production has least impact on ozone layer depletion. Fertilizer production and usage was found to be one of the key issues affecting various impact categories. These results will assist further assessments on the sugarcane products and systems. However, in order to further develop the LCA tool for Fijian agricultural systems, development and testing of life cycle impact assessment models is necessary for Fijian conditions. This will ensure further accuracy of model outputs and supply more realistic and real-time results on emissions.
Souza GM, Woods J, 2018, Policy Brief - Sustainable Bioenergy: Latin America and Africa (2018), São Paulo, Brazil, Publisher: SCOPE
Patel MK, Bechu A, Villegas JD, et al., 2018, Second-generation bio-based plastics are becoming a reality – Non-renewable energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of succinic acidbased plastic end products made from lignocellulosic biomass, Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, Vol: 12, Pages: 426-441, ISSN: 1932-104X
Bio-based and bio-degradable plastics such as polybutylene succinate (PBS) have the potential to become sustainable alternatives to petrochemical-based plastics. Polybutylene succinate can be produced from bio-based succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol using first-generation (1G) or second-generation (2G) sugars. A cradle-to-grave environmental assessment was performed for PBS products in Europe to investigate the non-renewable energy use (NREU) and greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts. The products investigated are single-use trays and agricultural film, with incineration, industrial composting and degradation on agricultural land as end-of-life scenarios. Both end products manufactured from fully bio-based PBS and from partly bio-based PBS (made from bio-based succinic acid and fossil fuel-based 1,4 butanediol) were analysed. We examine corn (1G) as well as corn stover, wheat straw, miscanthus and hardwood as 2G feedstocks. For the cradle-to-grave system, 1G fully bio-based PBS plastic products were found to have environmental impacts comparable with their petrochemical incumbents, while 2G fully bio-based PBS plastic products allow to reduce NREU and GHG by around one third under the condition of avoidance of concentration of sugars and energy integration of the pretreatment process with monomer production. Without energy integration and with concentration of sugars (i.e., separate production), the impacts of 2G fully bio-based PBS products are approximately 15–20% lower than those of 1G fully bio-based PBS products. The environmental analysis of PBS products supports the value proposition related to PBS products while also pointing out areas requiring further research and development.
Di Lucia L, Usai D, Woods J, 2018, Designing landscapes for sustainable outcomes - The case of advanced biofuels, LAND USE POLICY, Vol: 73, Pages: 434-446, ISSN: 0264-8377
Millington JDA, Xiong H, Peterson S, et al., 2017, Integrating Modelling Approaches for Understanding Telecoupling: Global Food Trade and Local Land Use, Land, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2073-445X
The telecoupling framework is an integrated concept that emphasises socioeconomic and environmental interactions between distant places. Viewed through the lens of the telecoupling framework, land use and food consumption are linked across local to global scales by decision-makingagents and trade flows. Quantitatively modeling the dynamics of telecoupled systems like this could be achieved using numerous different modelling approaches. For example, previous approaches to modelling global food trade have often used partial equilibrium economic models, whereas recent approaches to representing local land use decision-making have widely used agent-based modelling. System dynamics models are well established for representing aggregated flows andstores of products and values between distant locations. We argue that hybrid computational models will be useful for capitalising on the strengths these different modelling approaches each have for representing the various concepts in the telecoupling framework. However, integrating multiple modelling approaches into hybrid models faces challenges, including data requirements and uncertainty assessment. To help guide the development of hybrid models for investigating sustainability through the telecoupling framework here we examine important representational and modelling considerations in the context of global food trade and local land use. We report on the development of our own model that incorporates multiple modelling approaches in a modular approach to negotiate the trade-offs between ideal representation and modelling resource constraints. In this initial modelling our focus is on land use and food trade in and between USA, China and Brazil, but also accounting for the rest of the world. We discuss the challenges of integrating multiple modelling approaches to enable analysis of agents, flows, and feedbacks in the telecoupled system. Our analysis indicates differences in representation of agency are possible and should be
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