Mitigating environmental impacts from biomass production by producing more biomass
Research Project , 2019 – 2021

Biomass resources are of major significance for the economy in many countries. Sweden has a very high proportion of bioenergy in its energy system and many companies are both using and producing bioenergy and other biobased products at small to large scales. The demand for land and biomass is expected to increase, as a growing and wealthier global population requires more food, paper, construction wood, etc. Additional biomass demand arises as countries, organizations and companies adopt policies, regulations and strategies aligned with visions about a biobased circular economy, which have been formulated in response to concerns about resource scarcity and a multitude of negative impacts associated with the use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources.

But compared with other renewable energy sources, bioenergy is often perceived as more complex. Considering the current international debate on sustainability aspects linked to bioenergy, it is essential to internationally highlight, for decision makers and politicians, good examples in policy as well as technology, to demonstrate the important contributions of bioenergy to sustainable energy supply. There is a need for more knowledge on how biomass production systems can be designed to enhance land use sustainability, and how such production systems can be implemented to support new, or replace existing, demands of biomass for food, feed, fiber, biofuels, and biomaterials.

This project creates, synthesizes, and disseminates new knowledge for society, academia, and industry on how increased biomass demands can be met while improving the overall land use sustainability. A first version of a GIS based analytical framework has been developed for indicating existing environmental impacts and the effectiveness for impact mitigation by strategic introduction of perennial crops into the landscape, in over 80 0000 individual sub-catchments in all 28 EU member countries. The project advances this research by extending the analytical framework at EU28 level, adapting it for application at a national scale for Sweden, and downscaling it for application with higher resolution and precision at the local level, for scenarios where green biorefineries, biogas plants, and CHP plants with production of bio-oil increase, and alter, the demand of biomass from the surrounding landscapes. This will provide new insights in how new, or different, biomass demands can be met while improving the overall land use sustainability.

Extensive dissemination is planned for a broad national and international audience.

Participants

Göran Berndes (contact)

Professor vid Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Christel Cederberg

Biträdande professor vid Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Collaborations

Aarhus University

Aarhus, Denmark

Englund GeoLab

Östersund, Sweden

European Commission (EC)

Brussels, Belgium

European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra

Ispra, Italy

IEA Bioenergy

Amsterdam, Netherlands

International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy (IINAS)

Darmstadt, Germany

Lund University

Lund, Sweden

Mid Sweden University

Sundsvall, Sweden

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Uppsala, Sweden

University of New England

Armidale, Australia

Utrecht University

Utrecht, Netherlands

Funding

Swedish Energy Agency

Funding Chalmers participation during 2019–2021

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces

More information

Latest update

2019-10-10