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Future bio-energy potential under various natural constraints

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  • van Vuuren, Detlef P.
  • van Vliet, Jasper
  • Stehfest, Elke

Abstract

Potentials for bio-energy have been estimated earlier on the basis of estimates of potentially available land, excluding certain types of land use or land cover (land required for food production and forests). In this paper, we explore how such estimates may be influenced by other factors such as land degradation, water scarcity and biodiversity concerns. Our analysis indicates that of the original bio-energy potential estimate of 150, 80Â EJ occurs in areas classified as from mild to severe land degradation, water stress, or with high biodiversity value. Yield estimates were also found to have a significant impact on potential estimates. A further 12.5% increase in global yields would lead to an increase in bio-energy potential of about 50%. Changes in bio-energy potential are shown to have a direct impact on bio-energy use in the energy model TIMER, although the relevant factor is the bio-energy potential at different cost levels and not the overall potential.

Suggested Citation

  • van Vuuren, Detlef P. & van Vliet, Jasper & Stehfest, Elke, 2009. "Future bio-energy potential under various natural constraints," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4220-4230, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:11:p:4220-4230
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Searchinger, Timothy & Heimlich, Ralph & Houghton, R. A. & Dong, Fengxia & Elobeid, Amani & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Yu, Hun-Hsiang, 2008. "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    2. Smakhtin, Vladimir U. & Revenga, C. & Doll, P., 2004. "Taking into account environmental water requirements in global-scale water resources assessments," IWMI Research Reports H031758, International Water Management Institute.
    3. Hoogwijk, Monique & de Vries, Bert & Turkenburg, Wim, 2004. "Assessment of the global and regional geographical, technical and economic potential of onshore wind energy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 889-919, September.
    4. D. P. van Vuuren & H.J.M. de Vries, 2001. "Mitigation scenarios in a world oriented at sustainable development: the role of technology, efficiency and timing," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 189-210, June.
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