Biofuels done right: land efficient animal feeds enable large environmental and energy benefits

Share

Biofuels done right: land efficient animal feeds enable large environmental and energy benefits

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Environmental Science & Technology, American Chemical Society, Volume 44, Number 22, p.8385-8389 (2010)

ISBN:

0013-936X

Keywords:

Deconstruction, Sustainability

Abstract:

There is an intense ongoing debate regarding the potential scale of biofuel production without creating adverse effects on food supply. We explore the possibility of three land-efficient technologies for producing food (actually animal feed), including leaf protein concentrates, pretreated forages, and double crops to increase the total amount of plant biomass available for biofuels. Using less than 30% of total U.S. cropland, pasture, and range, 400 billion liters of ethanol can be produced annually without decreasing domestic food production or agricultural exports. This approach also reduces U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 670 Tg CO2-equivalent per year, or over 10% of total U.S. annual emissions, while increasing soil fertility and promoting biodiversity. Thus we can replace a large fraction of U.S. petroleum consumption without indirect land use change.