Review of the Indirect Effects of Biofuels

Earlier this year, the UK Renewables Fuels Agency (RFA) was asked to undertake a Re-view of the Indirect Effects of Biofuels. Various reports had been published that suggested that an increasing demand for biofuels might indirectly cause carbon emissions because of land use change, and concerns were raised that it may also be causing food commodity price increases. RFA then commissioned a number of studies to collect evidence for this review. CE Delft contributed to this review, also known as the Gallagher report, with two studies. Estimating indirect land use impacts from by-products utilization This analysis focuses on the utilization of by-products from so-called first generation biofu-els production technologies as feed and as fuel: • Application as feed avoids cultivation of primary feed crops such as soy, wheat and corn and thus reduces area requirement for cultivation of these crops. Reduction in area requirement might in a marginal case also mean avoiding deforestation for creation of extra agricultural area. • By-products utilization as fuel will avoid fossil fuel consumption and related GHG-emissions. We estimated that when applied as feed, the total amount of 60 – 115 Mtonnes/a of wheat and corn DG and rape seed meal can compete with soy meal as a protein source and with locally produced wheat and corn as energy sources. DG’s and rape meal quality and the size of the global feed market do not seem to be a limiting condition for feed application of the entire amount of by-products in any of E4Tech’s scenario’s. Agricultural land availability and demand in 2020 This report addresses the following issues: • Current and anticipated future drivers and demand (to 2020) for land and feedstock for food, feed and other commodities. • Global agricultural land availability. • The demand and availability of agricultural land for biofuels in 2020 The report shows that food and feed production are the main sources of demand for agricultural land, and it is expected that the demand for agricultural crops for food and feed will increase significantly in the next decades. Despite an increase of agricultural yields, the agricultural land demand for food and feed is expected to grow by 200-500 Mha until 2020.Current biofuels production may also increase significantly in the next decade. The global biofuel scenarios developed in the framework of this RFA review result in a land use in 2020 that varies between 73 and 276 Mha.