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Land-free bioenergy from circular agroecology—a diverse option space and trade-offs

Wu, Fei; Pfenniger, Stefan and Müller, Adrian (2024) Land-free bioenergy from circular agroecology—a diverse option space and trade-offs. Environmental Research Letters, 19 (044044), pp. 1-19.

[thumbnail of Wu-etal-2024_EnvironResLett-Vol19-No044044-p1-19.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Document available online at: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ad33d5

Summary in the original language of the document

Bioenergy from energy crops is a source of negative emissions and carbon-neutral fuels in many 1.5/2 ∘C IPCC pathways. This may compete with other land uses. In contrast, ancillary biomass like by-products and waste is not primarily grown for energy and thus without land/food/feed competition. Here, we examine the availability and environmental impacts of ancillary bioenergy from agricultural sources under 190 circular agroecological strategies using the global food-system model SOLm for the year 2050. We find that there is a diverse option space for the future food and energy system to meet both global warming targets (1.5 ∘C) and food system sustainability (medium to highly organic) – a similar range of ancillary bioenergy global potential (55–65 EJ)from very different food systems (50%–75% organic agriculture and various levels of waste and concentrate feeding reduction). We find three trade-offs between food system sustainability and ancillary bioenergy provision. First, there is a clear trade-off between nutrient recycling and negative emissions potential. 1.4–2.6 GTCO2eq of negative emissions supplied through ancillary bioenergy with carbon capture and storage comes at the cost of nutrient deficits and resulting incompatibility with even a medium degree of organic farming. Second, reducing feed from croplands increases the ancillary bioenergy production with low shares of organic agriculture and reduces it for high shares. Third, food waste reduction reduces ancillary bioenergy provision. Hence, the sustainable transformation of the food system towards a less animal-based diet and waste reduction may conflict with a higher ancillary bioenergy provision, especially when the organic share is high as well. The policy implication of our results is that ancillary bioenergy can provide a similar range of future bioenergy as foreseen in IPCC AR6 illustrative pathways (±10% ) without additional land use or compromising food availability. However, higher ancillary bioenergy provision or additional negative emissions compete with food system sustainability; hence, we recommend policymakers consider aligning energy system planning with the compatibility of sustainable food systems simultaneously.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:bioenergy, agroecology, sustainability, food system modeling, Abacus, FiBL35217, AVINA Foods4Future
Agrovoc keywords:
food systems
Subjects: Food systems > Recycling, balancing and resource management
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Agri-food policy > Modeling
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Agroecology
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Sustainability assessment
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Climate
Netherlands > Other organizations Netherlands
Related Links:https://www.fibl.org/en/themes/projectdatabase/projectitem/project/2036
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:52945
Deposited On:22 Mar 2024 13:03
Last Modified:22 Mar 2024 13:03
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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