Spatial Mapping and Evaluation of Energy Crop Distribution in Great Britain to 2050

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: Inst of Biological and Environmental Sci


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.


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Description Increasing the contribution of bioenergy crops to UK energy system is proposed to reduce climate change and to improve energy security, and is proposed to promote low-carbon growth to 2050. Our work has projected the possible spatial extent, potential yield, environmental impacts and potential economic contraints of wide scale bioenergy crop deployment. This work will benefit the Committee on Climate Change, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Scottish and Welsh Governments, and the Energy Industry such as Shell / BP etc.
Exploitation Route ETI funded ELUM project involving a subset of partners (>£500k) and UKERC Phase II project on ecosystem service impacts of UK energy (£650k) have built on this work and the datasets have been lodged with UKERC's Energy Data Centre for future use
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Environment

Description Since the project ended the results have been used extensively by BEIS (scoping bioenergy and GGR), the Committee on Climate Change (biomass / bioenergy report 2018), the Royal Society (report on greenhouse gas removal 2018), the ETI and other stakeholders
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services