Spatial mapping and evaluation of energy crop distribution in Great Britain in 2050

Lead Research Organisation: NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Department Name: Harding

Abstract

The aim of the project is to use a whole systems approach to explore spatial aspects of bioenergy development in the UK to 2050, subject to environmental, economic and social factors. We will build on our previous strong collaboration, and draw on the data, models and tools already developed, to project the potential spatial distribution of energy crops under current and future climate (to 2050). The projected yields of energy crops under these conditions represent one aspect of the economic, social and environmental constraints, often termed 'ecosystem services' on the production and use of these crops, which together shape prospective bioenergy supply curves. The project will, examine the optimised spatial distribution and feedstock supply of energy crops using current infrastructure (i.e. the demand), and under scenarios of future potential infrastructure, and quantify the total impacts of such distributions in economic, social and environmental terms. The analysis will use a partial equilibrium model to link farm-scale optimisation to a global input and prices and that of fuel substitutes. Our focus will be restricted to second generation dedicated energy crops (grasses and trees) since these conflict less with food crops and are likely to be grown on low quality agricultural land. Given recommendations by Gallagher on sustainable biofuels (RFA, 2008) it is unlikely that food crops will have any significant role in the UK post 2020 for the supply of bioenergy. Outputs will be spatial maps and related supply curves of optimised energy crop distributions and maps of economic, social and environmental consequences of these distributions, which will be made freely available to other UKERC researchers.

Publications

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