Thursday, May 20, 2010

Agriculture as Provider of Both Food and Fuel

The new research paper "Agriculture as Provider of Both Food and Fuel" has been published in AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment by Kesti Johansson, Karin Liljequist, Lars Ohlander and Kjell Aleklett


A database of global agricultural primary production has been constructed and used to estimate its energy content. The portion of crops available for food and biofuel after postharvest losses was evaluated. The basic conditions for agriculture and plant growth were studied, to ensure sustainable scenarios.

The net energy contents for the world and EU27 was found to be 7200-9300 and 430 TWh respectively, to be compared with food requirements of 7100 and 530 TWh. Clearly, very little, or nothing, remains for biofuel from agricultural primary crops. However, by using residues and bioorganic waste, it was found that biofuel production could theoretically replace one fourth of the global consumption of fossil fuels for transport.

The expansion potential for global agriculture is limited by availability of land, water and energy. A future decrease in supply of fossil energy and ongoing land degradation will thus cause difficulties for increased biofuel production from agriculture.

A related blog entry has been published by Aleklett which has also appeared on

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