Research article // The water-land-food nexus of first-generation biofuels
By Maria Cristina Rulli, Davide Bellomi, Andrea Cazzoli, Giulia De Carolis and Paolo D’Odorico. This report provides a global assessment of biofuel crop production, reconstruct global patterns of biofuel crop/oil trade and determines the associated displacement of water and land use. It includes an evaluation of food-energy tradeoffs and an analysis of the impact that an increased reliance on biofuel would have on the number of people the planet can feed.
World map of energy flows related to bioethanol and biodiesel trade. © The authors of this study
Recent energy security strategies, investment opportunities and energy policies have led to an escalation in biofuel consumption at the expenses of food crops and pastureland. To evaluate the important impacts of biofuels on food security, the food-energy nexus needs to be investigated in the context of its linkages with the overall human appropriation of land and water resources. Here we provide a global assessment of biofuel crop production, reconstruct global patterns of biofuel crop/oil trade and determine the associated displacement of water and land use. We find that bioethanol is mostly produced with domestic crops while 36% of biodiesel consumption relies on international trade, mainly from Southeast Asia. Altogether, biofuels rely on about 2-3% of the global water and land used for agriculture, which could feed about 30% of the malnourished population. We evaluate the food-energy tradeoff and the impact an increased reliance on biofuel would have on the number of people the planet can feed.
Environmental sciences; Hydrology; Sustainability
Scientific Reports volume 6, Article number: 22521 (2016)
Rulli, M., Bellomi, D., Cazzoli, A. et al. The water-land-food nexus of first-generation biofuels. Sci Rep 6, 22521 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep22521
The water-land-food nexus of first-generation biofuels
- The Water‐Energy Nexus of Hydraulic Fracturing // A Global Hydrologic Analysis for Shale Oil and Gas Extraction
- The Global Food-Energy-Water Nexus
- Efficiency Type Index // Analysis of the current World Biofuel Production under a Water–Food–Energy Nexus Perspective
- Biofuels and Implications for Agricultural Water Use // Blue Impacts of Green Energy
- Biofuels // Some Insights in the Effect of Growing Bio-energy Demand on Global Food Security and Natural Resources