Carbon and environmental footprinting of global biofuel production

Geoff P. Hammond, S.M. Seth

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The carbon and environmental footprints associated with the global production of biofuels have been computed from a baseline of 2007-2009 out until 2019. Estimates of future global biofuel production were adopted from OECD-FAO and related projections. In order to determine the footprints associated with these (essentially 'first generation') biofuel resources, the overall environmental footprint was disaggregated into bioproductive land, built land, carbon, embodied energy, materials and waste, transport, and water components. The global carbon footprint of biofuels was estimated to be 0.248 billion (bn) global hectares (gha) in 2010; arising to 0.449 bn gha by 2019. The total environmental footprint for the global production of biofuels was estimated to be 0.720 billion gha for 2010; rising to 1.242 bn gha by 2019. Bioproductive land use proved to give rise to the highest element of the footprint, with the 'carbon footprint' as the next highest, followed by the water footprint, and then the transport component. The waste, built land, and embodied energy components contributed an insignificant amount to the total environmental footprint.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-559
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date27 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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