© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Edited By: Steve Long
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ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2011: 2/80 (Agronomy); 15/81 (Energy & Fuels)
Online ISSN: 1757-1707
Associated Title(s): Global Change Biology
Estimating Global Bioenergy Production Potential
Researchers predict that lignocellulosic bioenergy will play an important role in global energy production in the next decades. The development of bioenergy is expected to help mitigate climate change, add to energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil, create employment, and provide new income opportunities. However, if not managed correctly, large-scale cultivation of energy crops and substantial utilization of residues from agriculture and forestry may result in increased greenhouse gas emissions, environmental degradation, new risks for food security, and/or marginalization of local communities.
Beringer and coauthors take these issues into account when they estimate the global bioenergy potential from dedicated biomass plantations in the 21st century by prioritizing sustainability over bioenergy production. For example, land required for future food production would be considered unavailable for biomass plantations, thereby ensuring that food requirements were met before energy requirements.
The authors find that biomass from dedicated plantations in combination with residues and wastes have the potential produce 13-22% of the world’s primary energy in 2050. When excess freshwater from renewable sources is available for irrigation, this value may increase to 15-27% of the world’s primary energy. Although biomass plantations have the potential to become a significant source of renewable energy, the authors warn that the large-scale development of energy crop plantations will further increase the pressure on natural ecosystems.
Beringer T, Lucht W, Schaphoff S (2011) Bioenergy production potential of global biomass plantations under environmental and agricultural constraints. GCB Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2010.01088.x Read this paper.