EU sustainability criteria for biofuels potentially restrict ley crop production on marginal land for use as biogas substrate

Thomas Prade, Sven-Erik Svensson, Jan Erik Mattsson, Georg Carlsson, Lovisa Björnsson, Pål Börjesson, Mikael Lantz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review

Abstract

Ley crops can be grown to provide a substrate for biogas vehicle-fuel production on a range of soils including marginal land. According to EU regulations, such biofuel currently has to achieve an emission reduction of 35%, but tightened goals of 50 and 60% will come into effect as early as 2017. In two field trials (one on marginal soil, one on productive soil) ley crop mixtures were tested and the biomass DM yield was determined. In a life-cycle assessment approach, the emissions of the production chain for biogas-vehicle-fuel were
estimated for a range of biomass DM yields. The results show that the emission intensity per energy unit of fuel produced is an asymptotic function of the DM yield. Currently, marginal lands not competing with food production can provide biofuels fulfilling the emission
reduction requirements. However, a tightening of the goals to 50 or 60% is likely to cause a shift in biomass production towards better soils, potentially causing competition with food and feed production. Alternatively, the CO2 emissions from biomass production of marginal
soils need to be further reduced, e.g. by increased nitrogen fixation or reduced machinery use.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrassland Science in Europe
EditorsÁslaug Helgadóttir, Alan Hopkins
PublisherEuropean Grassland Federation EGF
Pages528-530
Volume18
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventThe Role of Grasslands in a Green Future: Threats and Perspectives in Less Favoured Areas - Akureyri, Iceland
Duration: 2013 Jun 232013 Jun 26

Publication series

Name
Volume18

Conference

ConferenceThe Role of Grasslands in a Green Future: Threats and Perspectives in Less Favoured Areas
Country/TerritoryIceland
CityAkureyri
Period2013/06/232013/06/26

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Energy Systems

Keywords

  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • energy balance
  • systems analysis
  • substrate
  • biogas

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