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Ambio. 2010 Mar;39(2):91-9.

Agriculture as provider of both food and fuel.

Author information

1
Global Energy Systems, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Sweden. kersti.johansson@fysast.uu.se

Abstract

A database of global agricultural primary production has been constructed and used to estimate its energy content. The portion of crops available for food and biofuel after postharvest losses was evaluated. The basic conditions for agriculture and plant growth were studied, to ensure sustainable scenarios regarding use of residues. The available energy contents for the world and EU27 was found to be 7200-9300 and 430 TWh, respectively, to be compared with food requirements of 7100 and 530 TWh. Clearly, very little, or nothing, remains for biofuel from agricultural primary crops. However, by using residues and bioorganic waste, it was found that biofuel production could theoretically replace one-fourth of the global consumption of fossil fuels for transport. The expansion potential for global agriculture is limited by availability of land, water, and energy. A future decrease in supply of fossil energy and ongoing land degradation will thus cause difficulties for increased biofuel production from agriculture.

PMID:
20653272
PMCID:
PMC3357690
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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