A quantitative assessment of the determinants of the net energy value of biofuels
Many studies have investigated the net energy balance of biofuel products (in terms of savings on fossil fuels) and assessed the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from substituting biofuels for fossil fuel. These studies provide very different results, with net balance ranging from highly positive to negative. Our study analyses a large sample of these studies by retrieving the main parameters used and converting them into units of measurement that are comparable. This information is used to unravel the main determinants of the differences in net energy value across studies. Our approach relies on descriptive statistics and econometric estimates based on a meta-analysis methodology. Our results suggest that the large variability across studies can be explained by the degree to which particular inputs (i.e. nitrogen, farm labor) are controlled for, and the way fossil energy consumption is allocated to the various co-products.
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- 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 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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