Special Issue "Economic Sustainability of Bioenergy Systems"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Gbadebo Oladosu

Sustainable Systems and Social Sciences Group, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1 Bethel Valley Road, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy systems analysis; resource and environmental policy analysis; applied economics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Driven by policies to address persistent increases in fossil fuel prices and their environmental impacts, biofuel production and use has grown rapidly over the last decade-and-a-half. However, market conditions that supported the large increases in biofuels have changed. Technological developments have led to significant increases in oil production in the United States, and the high level of production is expected to continue for two to three decades. In addition, the global oil price has dropped by about 50% since the third quarter of 2014. These changes have implications for the production and use of biofuels, and their sustainability relative to fossil fuels. This Special Issue of Agriculture will focus on the economic sustainability of biofuels. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  1. Case studies of the economic sustainability of existing biofuel supply chains (and crucial supply chain components, such as feedstock production) at the local to global scale, including approaches for translating measures of economic sustainability across scales.
  2. Empirical evaluation of the impacts of different factors on the economic sustainability of biofuels based on the recent history of the market.
  3. Perspectives on the short- to long-run evolution of biofuels’ economic sustainability, considering future paths of market factors (e.g., crude oil prices), technologies, and policies.
  4. Understanding the interaction between economic sustainability and other legs of the economic–environment–social sustainability tripod in the context of biofuels.

Dr. Gbadebo Oladosu
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • case studies
  • market conditions
  • perspectives
  • technologies
  • policies

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Role of Small-Scale Biofuel Production in Brazil: Lessons for Developing Countries
Agriculture 2017, 7(7), 61; doi:10.3390/agriculture7070061
Received: 15 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 22 July 2017
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Abstract
Small-scale biofuel initiatives to produce sugarcane ethanol are claimed to be a sustainable opportunity for ethanol supply, particularly for regions with price-restricted or no access to modern biofuels, such as communities located far from the large ethanol production centers in Brazil and family-farm
[...] Read more.
Small-scale biofuel initiatives to produce sugarcane ethanol are claimed to be a sustainable opportunity for ethanol supply, particularly for regions with price-restricted or no access to modern biofuels, such as communities located far from the large ethanol production centers in Brazil and family-farm communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, respectively. However, smallholders often struggle to achieve economic sustainability with ethanol microdistilleries. The aim of this paper is to provide an assessment of the challenges faced by small-scale bioenergy initiatives and discuss the conditions that would potentially make these initiatives economically feasible. Ethanol microdistilleries were assessed through a critical discussion of existent models and through an economic analysis of different sugarcane ethanol production models. The technical-economic analysis showed that the lack of competitiveness against large-scale ethanol distillery, largely due to both low crop productivity and process efficiency, makes it unlikely that small-scale distilleries can compete in the national/international ethanol market without governmental policies and subsidies. Nevertheless, small-scale projects intended for local supply and integrated food–fuel systems seem to be an interesting alternative that can potentially make ethanol production in small farms viable as well as increase food security and project sustainability particularly for local communities in developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Sustainability of Bioenergy Systems)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Achieving Sustainability: Insights from Biogas Ecosystems in India
Agriculture 2017, 7(2), 15; doi:10.3390/agriculture7020015
Received: 11 August 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper focuses on how the use of renewable energy technologies such as biogas can help to achieve environmental and socio-economic sustainability. It combines research on sustainable consumption and production, natural and industrial ecosystems and renewable energy adoption to develop a framework for
[...] Read more.
This paper focuses on how the use of renewable energy technologies such as biogas can help to achieve environmental and socio-economic sustainability. It combines research on sustainable consumption and production, natural and industrial ecosystems and renewable energy adoption to develop a framework for an industrial ecosystem for biogas for bottom-of-the-pyramid and rural populations. The framework suggests that three dimensions of industrial ecosystems and a meta-dimension can be embedded in the design of a new industrial ecosystem for biogas to facilitate environmental and socio-economic sustainability. Case studies of an organization engaged in using biogas to create a sustainable bioenergy ecosystem for rural populations and two organizations producing biogas in urban India provide support for the framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Sustainability of Bioenergy Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Feasibility Assessment of Converting Sugar Mills to Bioenergy Production in Africa
Agriculture 2016, 6(3), 45; doi:10.3390/agriculture6030045
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 1 September 2016 / Accepted: 2 September 2016 / Published: 8 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2003 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
World sugar production has consistently overrun demand in the past five years. Moreover, in 2017 the European Sugar Regime will expire, ending the quota system and preferential sugar prices, largely affecting small producers, particularly in Africa. Diversification emerges as an option for sugar-oriented
[...] Read more.
World sugar production has consistently overrun demand in the past five years. Moreover, in 2017 the European Sugar Regime will expire, ending the quota system and preferential sugar prices, largely affecting small producers, particularly in Africa. Diversification emerges as an option for sugar-oriented mills. Two evident alternatives are ethanol and electricity production that allow better use of molasses and cane fibers, respectively. Molasses is the cheapest feedstock for ethanol production, while the cane fibers—in the form of bagasse—are readily available at the mill. The transition from sugar to sugar, ethanol and electricity may require substantial investment capital, yet our results show that significant progress can start at relatively small cost. In this work, we use simulations to explore the impact of ethanol and electricity production in an existing sugar mill in Mozambique. In spite of the large amounts of energy obtained from ambitious scenarios, such as Ethanol-2 and Ethanol/EE, molasses-based ethanol (Ethanol-1 scenario) seems more attractive in economical and infrastructural terms. High opportunity costs for molasses, low oil prices and enabling institutional conditions, such as mandatory blending mandates, to promote bioenergy remain a challenge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Sustainability of Bioenergy Systems)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Global Biofuels at the Crossroads: An Overview of Technical, Policy, and Investment Complexities in the Sustainability of Biofuel Development
Agriculture 2017, 7(4), 32; doi:10.3390/agriculture7040032
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
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Abstract
Biofuels have the potential to alter the transport and agricultural sectors of decarbonizing societies. Yet, the sustainability of these fuels has been questioned in recent years in connection with food versus fuel trade-offs, carbon accounting, and land use. Recognizing the complicated playing field
[...] Read more.
Biofuels have the potential to alter the transport and agricultural sectors of decarbonizing societies. Yet, the sustainability of these fuels has been questioned in recent years in connection with food versus fuel trade-offs, carbon accounting, and land use. Recognizing the complicated playing field for current decision-makers, we examine the technical attributes, policy, and global investment activity for biofuels (primarily liquids). Differences in feedstock and fuel types are considered, in addition to policy approaches of major producer countries. Issues with recent, policy-driven trade developments are highlighted to emphasize how systemic complexities associated with sustainability must also be managed. We conclude with near-term areas to watch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Sustainability of Bioenergy Systems)
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