• Open Access

Impact of protein concentrate coproducts on net land requirement for European biofuel production


Warwick Lywood, e-mail: warwick.lywood@ensusgroup.com


A methodology is proposed for calculating the net land area requirement for European biofuels, accounting for the substitution impact of animal feed protein coproducts such as dried distillers grains and solubles (DDGS) and rape meal. For example, when bioethanol is produced from cereal grain starch, grain protein is preserved in the DDGS coproduct. Each tonne of wheat DDGS has the potential to replace 0.59 tonnes of soy meal and 0.39 tonnes of cereals in EU animal feed, and the land area required for soy and cereal feed production offsets much of the land requirement for wheat bioethanol feedstock. While the land area needed for bioethanol from feed wheat in North West Europe is 0.40 ha t−1, the net requirement after accounting for coproducts is just 0.03ha t−1 of bioethanol produced, 6% of the gross land requirement. Calculated in this way, the net land area required to produce biofuel from EU cereal, rapeseed and sugar beet crops is much lower than the gross land requirement, and from cereal and sugar beet crops is less than the land requirement of biofuel from oil palm and sugar cane.