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Biofuels: Environment, technology and food security

José C. Escobar, Electo S. Lora, Osvaldo J. Venturini, Edgar E. Yáñez, Edgar F. Castillo and Oscar Almazan

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2009, vol. 13, issue 6-7, 1275-1287

Abstract: The imminent decline of the world's oil production, its high market prices and environmental impacts have made the production of biofuels to reach unprecedent volumes over the last 10 years. This is why there have been intense debates among international organizations and political leaders in order to discuss the impacts of the biofuel use intensification. Besides assessing the causes of the rise in the demand and production of biofuels, this paper also shows the state of the art of their world's current production. It is also discussed different vegetable raw materials sources and technological paths to produce biofuels, as well as issues regarding production cost and the relation of their economic feasibility with oil international prices. The environmental impacts of programs that encourage biofuel production, farmland land requirements and the impacts on food production are also discussed, considering the life cycle analysis (LCA) as a tool. It is concluded that the rise in the use of biofuels is inevitable and that international cooperation, regulations and certification mechanisms must be established regarding the use of land, the mitigation of environmental and social impacts caused by biofuel production. It is also mandatory to establish appropriate working conditions and decent remuneration for workers of the biofuels production chain.

Keywords: Biofuel; production; Environment; Technology; Food; security (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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