Sugarcane ethanol - Contributions to climate change mitigation and the environment

Nov 2008

The aim of this publication is to set the stage for the discussion about both challenges and concerns of sugarcane ethanol by providing the scientific context, the basic concepts and the approach for understanding the debate on biofuel-related issues. The publication largely limits itself to sugarcane ethanol and its contribution to climate change mitigation and the environment.
In Chapter 2 the debate on sugarcane ethanol focuses on land use from a global point of view. There are many competing demands for land: to grow crops for food, feed and fuel, for nature conservation, urban development and other functions. The objective of the chapter is to analyze current and potential sugarcane production in the world and to provide an assessment of land suitable for sugarcane production.
Considering the particular situation in Brazil, Chapter 3 discusses the prospects of the sugarcane production, considering land use allocation and the land use dynamics. The chapter presents substitution patterns based on a reference scenario for sugarcane and ethanol production.
Chapter 4 compares the ethanol production in 2006 with a scenario for 2020 and a life cycle analysis is presented. Then the effects on land use change on GHG emissions on global scale are discussed. Finally the chapter discusses the indirect effects of land use change in the Brazil.
Chapter 5 addresses the question on environmental sustainability of the sugarcane ethanol production in Brazil. Sustainable production is discussed worldwide. For bioethanol sustainability criteria vary among countries and institutions. The chapter ends with the discussion on certification and compliance.
Chapter 6 starts with the assessment of studies on the market potential of ethanol. The demand predictions will be considered, taking into consideration technological development and innovation. The study provides an overview of the main issues and challenges related to the current and potential use of ethanol in the transport sector.
In Chapter 7 the technology developments for bioenergy will be analyzed. It gives a state of the art overview of technologies for bioenergy production from biomass. Further it sheds light on some scenarios for technologies to be developed in the 10-15 years to come.
Chapter 8 will deal specifically with the policies originating from the United States of America and the European Union. The chapter starts with an overview of policies and policy instruments of both. Next, these policies will be evaluated from an economic point of view. Based on this analysis, the impacts on the global biofuel industry will be considered.
In Chapter 9 the impact of biofuels on developing countries will be discussed within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
The book ends with the probably most heated debate: the impacts of bio fuels production on food prices. Chapter 10 covers the following questions: what is the state of the art: what are the relations between production of food and food prices and bio-fuels? Based on quantitative model studies some core findings will be presented. Finally, the chapter ends with the impacts of bioethanol on food production and prices.

By: P. Zuurbier, J. van de Vooren (Wageningen Academic Publishers)

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