This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.
Introduction From seed and soil to end use

Fossil and other energy sources

Agro-chemicals production (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.)

Agro-chemicals transport

CO2 sequestration in crops and soil Water (irrigation)

More efficient and cleaner farming

Better soil management

Converting land for biofuel crops implantation


Energy crop

Harvest cultivation

transport to processing plant

Biofuel processing

Biofuel transport

Animal feed, glycerine, ...

Inputs Production process

Co-production Positive effects on agriculture and soil

Negative externalities on the environment Social effects


Blending at bulk terminal

End use Biofuels Vital Graphics aims to highlight

opportunities offered by a developing biofuels sector, and the need for safeguards. Long-term and comprehensive planning can address different environmental and social concerns both as a means to achieve sustainability, and as a pre-condition for the successful development of the biofuels sector.

the opportunities offered by a developing biofuels sector...

Deforestation Biodiversity loss

Soil erosion Evapotranspiration

Improved access to basic services and livelihoods

Average wages 6 Eutrophication

Groundwater depletion Soil acidification

Human and ecological toxicity

Food source and water competition Exclusion of small producers

from access to land Figure 1.1 From seed and soil to end use Greenhouse gas emissions

Note: the diagram shows a generalized process for first generation biofuel production. Direct and indirect effects might only occurr in some regions, for some crops.

Source: Wang et al., Life-cycle energy and greenhouse gas emission impacts of different corn ethanol plant types, 2007; Menichetti, M., Otto, M., Energy Balance & Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Biofuels from a Life Cycle Perspective, 2009; Greenpeace press review.

As with every other energy source, biofuels entail some risks and should be assessed over their entire lifecycle. For example the graphic, From seed and soil to end use, tracks the lifecycle of liquid biofuels for use in the transport sector – most of the available analysis has focused on this part of the sector, but it is increasingly recognised that biofuels are more than just transport fuels – from the moment land is converted for the purpose of growing biofuel crops, to the end use of the biofuel product in a vehicle. The graphic shows how various inputs to the production process create outputs with environmental and social impacts. Environmental and social issues related to the use of crops grown as biofuel feedstocks are similar to such issues raised in the agricultural sector as a whole, and are applicable to crops used for biomaterials, bioplastics and other products, too.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54