A spatially explicit model to analyse the regional supply of ligno-cellulosic biomass
Within an overall project to assess the competitiveness and environmental impacts of the production of bioenergy from lignocellulosic biomass, we set out in this article to investigate facility location, land allocation, biomass supply costs, and some environmental impacts in relation to the demand for lignocellulosic feedstock at the regional (Nuts 2) level. For that purpose we developed a spatially-explicit regional supply model with a county sub-level to deal with the case of agricultural and forest ligno-cellulosic biomass. It accounts for land-use competition, transportation costs and the optimal location of bioenergy facilities as well as the competition between biomass sources and between their potential uses. As an illustration, the model is applied to the case of the French Champagne-Ardenne region. We generated the first lignocellulosic biomass supply curves for France and performed a sensitivity analysis to the food crops price context. We show that dedicated crop cultivation can increase environmental pressure on the local level, due to direct and indirect land-use substitution. Our results also show that three well-accepted claims about the production and supply of lingo-cellulosic biomass in France do not hold true countrywide. First, Miscanthus is not the most profitable dedicated crop, although it is the most frequent in France today. Second, perennial lignocellulosic crops are at first grown on the most fertile and profitable lands and not on marginal land, therefore coming into competition with food crops. Finally, we show that forest remnants are not the providential biomass source they are expected to be and that energy and non-energy uses compete for wood that is already harvested.
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