Biofuel production potentials in Europe: Sustainable use of cultivated land and pastures, Part II: Land use scenarios
Journal article, 2010
Europe's agricultural land (including Ukraine) comprise of 164 million hectares of cultivated land and 76 million hectares of permanent pasture. A "food first" paradigm was applied in the estimations of land potentially available for the production of biofuel feedstocks, without putting at risk food supply or nature conservation. Three land conversion scenarios were formulated: (i) A base scenario, that reflects developments under current policy settings and respects current trends in nature conservation and organic farming practices, by assuming moderate overall yield increases; (ii) an environment oriented scenario with higher emphasis on sustainable farming practices and maintenance of biodiversity; and (iii) an energy oriented scenario considering more substantial land use conversions including the use of pasture land. By 2030 some 44-53 million hectares of cultivated land could be used for bioenergy feed-stock production. The energy oriented scenario includes an extra 19 million hectares pasture land for feedstocks for second-generation biofuel production chains. Available land is foremost to be found in Eastern Europe, where substantial cultivated areas can be freed up through sustainable gains in yield in the food and feed sector. Agricultural residues of food and feed crops may provide an additional source for biofuel production. When assuming that up to 50% of crop residues can be used without risks for agricultural sustainability, we estimate that up to 246 Mt agricultural residues could be available for biofuel production, comparable to feedstock plantations of some 15-20 million hectares.