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Energies 2016, 9(11), 895; doi:10.3390/en9110895

Assessment of the Agronomic Feasibility of Bioenergy Crop Cultivation on Marginal and Polluted Land: A GIS-Based Suitability Study from the Sulcis Area, Italy

1
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics—Centro di Ricerca di Politiche e Bioeconomia, Via Po 14, Rome 00198, Italy
2
Biochemtex SpA, Strada Ribrocca 11, Tortona 15057, Italy
3
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39, Sassari 07100, Italy
4
Desertification Research Centre, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39, Sassari 07100, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert Lundmark
Received: 14 July 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 31 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Energy)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2800 KB, uploaded 31 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

In the context of environmental sustainability there has been an increasing interest in bioenergy production from renewable resources, and is expected that European biofuel production from energy crops will increase as a consequence of the achievement of policy targets. The aim of this paper is to assess the agronomic feasibility of biomass crop cultivation to provide profitable renewable feedstocks in a marginal and heavy-metal polluted area located in the Sulcis district, Sardinia (Italy). Results from literature review and unpublished data from field trials carried out in Sardinia were analysed to establish the main agronomic traits of crops (e.g., yield potential and input requirements). A Geographical Information System (GIS)-based procedure with remotely sensed data is also used to evaluate the land suitability and the actual land use/cover, considering a future scenario of expansion of energy crops on these marginal areas avoiding potential conflicts with food production. The results of the review suggests that giant reed, native perennial grasses and milk thistle are the most suitable energy crops for this area. The land suitability analysis shows that about 5700 ha and 1000 ha could be available for feedstock cultivation in the study area and in the most polluted area, respectively. The results obtained from land suitability process and agronomic evaluation will serve as a base to support technical and economical feasibility studies, as well as for the evaluation of environmental sustainability of the cultivation in the study area. View Full-Text
Keywords: agronomic feasibility; geographic information system (GIS); spatial analysis; biomass; land suitability; marginal land agronomic feasibility; geographic information system (GIS); spatial analysis; biomass; land suitability; marginal land
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pulighe, G.; Bonati, G.; Fabiani, S.; Barsali, T.; Lupia, F.; Vanino, S.; Nino, P.; Arca, P.; Roggero, P.P. Assessment of the Agronomic Feasibility of Bioenergy Crop Cultivation on Marginal and Polluted Land: A GIS-Based Suitability Study from the Sulcis Area, Italy. Energies 2016, 9, 895.

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