Recently, decision makers have given many incentives to the production of energy from renewable resources, finding in biofuels a good opportunity to decrease CO2 emissions. Many authors have analysed the single subcomponents of water–food–energy nexus and many indicators exist to analyse the effect of 1st generation biofuel production in terms of water use and depletion, competition with food and land consumption. These models, while providing useful information in their application field, lack the data and methodological components required to conduct an integrated policy assessment.
The authors propose a new index, which resumes in one single output the effect of 1st generation biofuel energy production on sustainability under a FEW nexus perspective. The index is aimed to analyse the interrelationship among water, food and energy in 1st generation biofuel production at the global scale and to assess the sustainability of biofuel production from a specific crop in a single country.
The output of the method is a score, which defines the efficiency of the production of biofuels. The index is the product of three intermediate indexes that quantify all the key parameters in biofuel production. The Nexus Index determines if a country is efficiently managing biofuel production from a specific crop, defining the lowest attainable consumption of resources in this process.
Advances in Water Resources, Volume 121, Pages 22-31