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Food or fuel?

trade-offs between food and biofuels globally and in small-scale organic agriculture

Johansson, Sheshti (2013). Food or fuel? Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv. , Rapport / Institutionen för energi och teknik, SLU, 1654-9406 ; 064
ISBN 978-91-576-9170-5
eISBN 978-91-576-9171-2
[Licentiate thesis]

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There are great expectations on agriculture to provide both food and fuels in the future. Previous attempts to estimate the global bioenergy potential have produced varying results, indicating major uncertainty. This thesis investigated the global theoretical 'potential', or limit, for biofuels based on current agricultural systems. The results showed that use of edible crops for biofuels in the current global food system would lead to a global deficit of food. Producing biofuels from residues also proved to have uncertain 'potential' and could not exceed 8 x 103 TWh.

Despite the global limitations of biofuel production in the current food system, agriculture is essentially the only truly indispensable sector and may need to be independent of fossil fuels in the future due to depletion of these resources. Therefore a small-scale, low-input food system was studied to examine the effects of fuel self-sufficiency in farm work on food production and nutrient fluxes. It was found that using wheat or potatoes for ethanol production lowered food production by 23% and 18%, respectively, compared with the reference scenario of conventional diesel. The least impact on food production (94% of the reference scenario) was obtained by combining a draught horse and cold-pressed rapeseed oil produced on-farm. By producing the fuel on-farm, a larger degree of nutrient recycling could be obtained. The draught horse-rapeseed oil scenario had only a small phosphorus (P) deficit, but the potassium (K) deficit was significant in all scenarios except when potatoes were used for ethanol production. Potassium deficiency is not a problem on soils formed on sedimentary clay in Sweden, but for such alternative fuel system to be viable in other regions, some solution for recycling K will be increasingly required. Nitrogen (N) level was maintained in all scenarios due to the inclusion of N-fixing leys. The P level can be maintained in arable fields if bones are recycled. However, nutrients, especially K, are also moved from meadow to cropland.

Authors/Creators:Johansson, Sheshti
Title:Food or fuel?
Subtitle:trade-offs between food and biofuels globally and in small-scale organic agriculture
Series Name/Journal:Rapport / Institutionen för energi och teknik, SLU
Year of publishing :2013
Number of Pages:68
I.Johansson, K., Liljequist, K., Ohlander, L. & Aleklett, K. (2010). Agriculture as provider of both food and fuel. Ambio 39 (2), 91-99.
II.Johansson, S., Belfrage, K. & Olsson M. (2013). Impact on food productivity by fossil fuel independence – A case study of a Swedish small-scale integrated organic farm, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil & Plant Science, DOI:10.1080/09064710.2012.733020
III.Johansson, S., Ohlander, L., Belfrage, K., Sundberg, C. & Hansson P-A. How the choice of biofuel system in a small-scale Swedish organic farm affects food production and NPK balance (manuscript).
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Dept. of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Associated Programs and Other Stakeholders:SLU - Agricultural Sciences for Global Development > Efficiency in farming systems
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-9170-5
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-9171-2
Publication Type:Licentiate thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F01 Crop husbandry
P Natural resources > P06 Renewable energy resources
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 107 Other Natural Sciences > Other Natural Sciences
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 2 Engineering and Technology > 207 Environmental Engineering > Energy Systems
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Agricultural Science
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Renewable Bioenergy Research
Agrovoc terms:biofuels, plant production, food production, biomass, food supply, self sufficiency, organic agriculture, small scale farming, draught horses, sweden
Keywords:Biofuels, food production, food and biofuel production, global biofuel potential, small-scale agriculture, draught horse power, self-sufficiency, small-scale biofuel production
Permanent URL:
ID Code:10805
Faculty:NL - Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (until 2013)
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
Deposited By: Miss Sheshti Johansson
Deposited On:20 Sep 2013 07:18
Metadata Last Modified:08 Sep 2017 10:41

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