Earth Day: 3 Big Reads for a Sustainable BioFuture
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) … Three reports have arrived this week that help – especially in the corner of sustainability relating to biobased energy, fuels and products. One led out of Brazil, tapping the efforts of 137 researchers at 82 institutions in 24 countries that documents and analyzes impacts, benefits and constraints related to the global expansion of bioenergy. Peer reviewed data and scientific evidence from more than 2,000 sources was included.
And, two from the US, the Energy Information Administration’s much-awaited Annual Energy Outlook, which takes us through 2040. And, the latest update from the US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office to its multi-year plan, which offers some tempting specific timelines and performance targets.
The authors affirm that sufficient land is available worldwide for expansion of biomass cultivation, that most of this land is in Latin America and Africa, and that the use of these areas for bioenergy production would not represent a threat to food security and biodiversity under certain conditions. Moreover, they present evidence that soil improvement technologies, production chain integration and use of bioenergy byproducts in poor rural areas could boost economic performance, enhance food quality, reduce pollution and create jobs.
Another conclusion reached by the authors is that bioenergy production systems based on sustainable practices can help to offset greenhouse gas emissions resulting from land use changes or loss of biodiversity. These technologies and procedures include combinations of different feedstocks, use of co-products, integration of bioenergy with agriculture, pasture intensification, agro-ecological zoning, landscape- level planning, improving yields, and other land management practices adapted to local conditions.
The land use chapter explores the subject of biomass and food crop production, concluding that the two can co-exist or be complementary. Projected land demands for biofuel production fall well within conservative estimates of current and future land availability, and integrated systems for food and energy production can improve food security. READ MORE Download Bioenergy & Sustainability: Bridging the Gaps Download US Department of Energy’s Energy Outlook Downloand The US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office – Multi-Year Program Plan, 2015 Update