What are biofuels doing to UK farming?

What are biofuels doing to UK farming? If you are interested in this question then there’s a paper in Environ. Sci. Tech a learned journal which is available by subscription.

Here’s the abstract though

The United States and the European Union have set targets for biofuel production to decrease reliance on fossil fuels and to reduce fossil carbon emissions. Attainment of biofuel targets depends upon policy and infrastructure development but also on production of suitable raw materials. Production of relevant crops relies on the decisions that farmers make in their economic and political environment. We need to identify any farmer-related barriers to biofuel production and to determine whether novel policy and technology are required to meet targets. These aspects of the emerging biofuel industry are relevant across international barriers and have not yet been addressed quantitatively. We describe a case study from the UK of farmers’ intentions toward producing two biofuel crops for which refining capacity either exists or is under construction. Given farmers’ intentions, current land use, and conversion efficiency, we estimate potential biofuel production. These estimates indicate that EU targets are not achievable using domestically grown raw materials without policy intervention, use of alternative feedstocks, and either significant improvements in processing efficiency or large-scale changes in land use.

The authors are Elizabeth H. A. Mattison* and Ken Norris

Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Earley Gate, P.O. Box 237, Reading, RG6 6AR, United Kingdom

Good to see that academics are reaching the same conclusions as most of the rest of us, but with greater rigour

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One Response to What are biofuels doing to UK farming?

  1. Mark C R UK 10 August, 2007 at 5:19 pm #


    But this is mere;y a forward looking policy document.

    People (“professionals”) should already be aware of everything stated and moving ourselves or our industry in that direction.

    It’s almost like a chicken-egg scenario.

    Targets vs [Technologies + Economics = Production]

    … which come first?!?

    The forward thinkers will (and are!) already working around most of the issues covered in the learned journal abstract (above).

    It’s nice to see that they’ve handily listed everything logically for people to view…….

    The “processing efficiency” barriers are certainly challenges to chemical science (chemists and chemical engineers)

    As for the rest – it’s going to be interesting to see the input of agricultural scientists/engineers on their end…..

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