Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Bioenergy

1 June 2017

Using a political-economic approach supplemented with insights from human ecology, this books analyzes the long-term dynamics of food security and economic growth. 

1 June 2017

This paper by researchers in Germany explores the scalability of managed woody and herbaceous bioenergy plantations (BP) for terrestrial capture of atmospheric carbon. The researchers make simulations to quantitatively explore how much land area could be made available globally for this terrestrial carbon dioxide removal (tCDR) strategy. 

Image credit: USDA, Kitayama Brothers, Inc. (KBI) hydroponic greenhouses, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
10 January 2017

This paper describes the operation of a bubble-insulated greenhouse system that recycles organic waste, through its anaerobic conversion into biogas and digestate, into inputs for new food. It reports that commercial crop yields were repeatedly matched and bettered, while an 80% reduction in heat energy demand and 95% reduction in CO2eq emissions was realised compared to conventional greenhouse production.

15 December 2016

An engineering project aims to produce food, energy and fresh water from solar power and seawater by using a new combination of already established technologies. The Sahara Forest Project is run in desert areas of Qatar, Tunisia and Jordan.

Photo: targut, rapeseed fields, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
1 August 2016

Biofuel policies have been a major driver of rising prices for biofuel crops around the world, such as rapeseed, corn and soy. In this paper researchers take France as an example and show that a tax of €0.05–0.27 per kg of fertiliser could help to limit French farmers’ use of fertiliser (driven by the high rapeseed prices resulting from biofuels policy).

Photo: Dick Culbert, Acrocomia aculeata, immature Grugu Nuts, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
24 July 2016

The neotropical macaw palm (Acrocomia aculeata) is increasingly promoted for large-scale cultivation as a sustainable biomass feedstock in Latin America. This paper warns however that a crucial proportion of areas predicted to be suitable for cultivation are located in areas of high conservational value. The paper also points to climate change scenarios which predict a substantial reduction of suitable areas in coming years.

24 July 2016

This paper analyses the options for and impacts of using food waste as animal feed and is the first study to compare the environmental impacts of recycling municipal food waste as animal feed with alternative disposal options in the EU.

9 June 2016

The last decade has witnessed major crises in both food and energy security across the world. One response to the challenges of climate change and energy supply has been the development of crops to be used for biofuels. But, as this book shows, this can divert agricultural land from food production to energy crops, thus affecting food security, particularly in less developed countries.

Sorghum (Photo credit:  U.S. department of Agriculture, Flickr, creative commons)
10 March 2016

In this Nature Comment, Phil Williamson of the Natural England Research Council and the University of East Anglia, argues that in order for the climate goals agreed at the COP21 in Paris last year to be achieved, a full assessment must be made of the methods for removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

16 July 2015

This report summarises research from scientific, policy and industrial experiences on energy use in the EU food sector. It acknowledges that while the EU has made progress in incorporating renewable energy across the economy, the share of renewables in the food system remains relatively small. The report discusses the way ahead and highlights the main challenges to be faced in decreasing energy use and in increasing the renewable energy share in the food sector.

18 June 2015

A new paper published in Environmental Science and Technology finds that measures to mitigate agricultural GHG emissions potentially risk increasing global hunger more than the impacts of climate change on crop yields itself.  The study draws upon global models to quantify:  a. the impact of climate change on yields in the absence of mitigation, b. the impact of bionergy production (as one mitigation measure) on competition for land and associated food prices and c. finally, the costs associated with mitigating the impacts of climate change by introducing a carbon tax.  Introduction of this tax is assumed to lead to increase in use of renewable fuels (wind, power, geothermal, bionenergy) and ‘abatement from non energy sources’ – which presumably includes agriculture although they do not specify what sort of abatement this would be.

20 May 2015

One of the main concerns about bioenergy is that its production potentially competes with land needed to produce food.  In this paper researchers discuss the potential of a bioenergy feedstock/vegetable double-cropping system, in which both biofuel and pumpkin are produced.  

8 May 2015

A new green energy initiative has been launched by the Japanese meat processor NH Foods. Their Global Water Engineering (GWE) Cohral plant (in Australia)will extract green energy biogas from the waste water stream of production, replacing millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed by the company factory.  It is reported that the effect of burning the methane will save the equivalent of 12,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to removing 2,700 cars from the road.

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