As impacts can be significant, they need to be assessed from a number of angles, including:
• Direct and indirect land-use changes, with potential impacts on GHG emissions and biodiversity (Figure 3.3);
• Food security, water quality and availability.
Although some biofuels may be considered energy- efficient in their production and use, they can still be detrimental to biodiversity, water quality or social development. In some instances, the complete opposite may be true – an energy-inefficient biofuel might have substantially less social and environmental impacts. Consequently, all factors and trade-offs need to be assessed when developing safeguards.
Figure 3.3 Biofuels crops and biodiversity
Energy efficiency of fuels - how many kilometres can we drive ? Thousand kilometres per hectare
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Note:
Soybean - Brazil
Soybean - USA 18
Cassava - Brazil Cassava -
Rapeseed - RME Corn - China
Corn - USA Sugar cane - Brazil Sugarcane - India Figure 3.4 Energy effi ciency of fuels – how many kilometres can we drive?
Oil palm - Malaysia Lignocellulose - FT
Oil palm - Indonesia
Lignocellulose - Methanol
First generation biofuels Advanced biofuels
1. The figures for ‘Advanced biofuels’ are based on conservative distances with an internal combustion engine, and assume long-term cultivation. 2. Distances are calculated for a car with average consumption.
Lignocellulose - Ethanol
Sources: Hill, J., et al., The Environmental, economic and Energetic Costs and Benefits of Biodiesel and Ethanol Biofuels, PNAS, 2006; Hamelinck, C.N. ,Faaij A.P.C, Outlook for advanced biofuels, 2005.