Grass Biomass as Biofuel Feedstock-Sustainable or Not?
Björnsson, L., Lantz, M., Prade, T.
Low carbon input due to increasing specialization, intensification and reduced use of bio-fertilizer, leads to soil organic carbon (SOC) decreases in arable land. This is an emerging problem in Europe in general, where 45% of the EU soils have low and declining SOC content. SOC losses from agricultural soils influence soil fertility, putting food security at risk, and contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. An agricultural practice rendering loss of SOC is thus not sustainable in the long term, and measures must be taken to reverse this trend. However, existing policies for agriculture and biofuels address these issues in isolation, SOC impact is not considered when sustainability criteria for biofuels are defined in the EU renewable energy directive (RED). The aim of this study was to illustrate the relevance of SOC impact on integrated production of food and grass as energy crop for biofuel production. This diversification of current cereal dominated crop rotations proved an efficient tool to reverse SOC losses, simultaneously producing a grass-based biofuel with low climate impact. Since SOC-related aspects are excluded in EU RED, the GHG reduction calculated according to the directive does, however, not meet the 60% GHG reduction demand. This narrow perspective causes potentially interesting double benefits to be missed.
agriculture, biofuel, greenhouse gases (GHG), food security, soil organic carbon
Integrated Biomass Production for Energy Purposes
25th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition
39 - 40
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