Publication: Second Generation Bioenergy Potential

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Beringer, Tim
Luchton, Wolfgang
It is widely believed that bioenergy will contribute significantly to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, higher energy security, and stimulate rural development. On the other hand, competition with food production for land and water as well as carbon and biodiversity losses due to the large-scale removal of natural vegetation for biomass plantations are among the most important arguments raised against any further expansion of the bioenergy sector. Recent analyses of first generation biofuels that are based primarily on food and oil crops revealed that they cannot contribute substantially to necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and are partly responsible for increases in food prices. Modern bioenergy systems based on cellulosic plant materials are expected to resolve most of these negative effects. Their absolute potential at the global scale, however, is still unclear. In any case, dedicated plantations of energy crops are expected to cover most of the world's biomass demand in the future. This study combines simulated biomass potentials from a process-based model of the terrestrial biosphere, including human land use with four scenarios of sustainable land-use change to estimate the global bioenergy potential from cellulosic biomass plantations.
Beringer, Tim; Luchton, Wolfgang. 2010. Second Generation Bioenergy Potential. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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