Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Indirect land use change for biofuels



<<This study by Michigan State University has been picked up by the industry - the report actually says better analysis is needed to determine if ILUC has happened in the US as a result of biofuels. Industry is spinning this to say ILUC hasn't happened.>>

For example:

New Study Shows No Bond Between Land Use Changes and Biofuels
05/16/2011

NAFB News Service

Researchers at Michigan State University used historical data on U.S. croplands, commodity grain exports and land use trends to see if there was a link between indirect land use change (ILUC) and biofuels expansion through 2007. They concluded that U.S. biofuel production has not provoked ILUC, saying crop intensification may have absorbed the effects of expanding biofuels production or the effects of production expansion may be negligible within the accuracy of the data. This conclusion is similar to that of a recent conclusion made by the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which says ILUC as a result of corn ethanol expansion during the past 10 years has been minimal to zero.

The ILUC theory suggests any acre used to produce feedstocks for biofuels in the U.S. results in new acres entering food or feed production in other areas of the world. Previous ILUC studies have not compared predictions to past global historical data - as the MSU study did. The researchers' report suggests cropland expansion in other countries isn't correlated to U.S. biofuels demand for certain feedstocks. Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen says this research has demonstrated that ILUC as a matter of science and fact is wrong and has been deeply flawed since its beginning. He says biofuels like ethanol offer unparalleled environmental benefits as a renewable alternative to gasoline.

http://r.einnews.com/P8gZ1C

also covered by Renewable Fuels Association at

http://www.sunbeltagnet.com/story/14654101/peer-reviewed-paper-finds-no-empirical-link-between-biofuels-land-use-changes?clienttype=printable

<<But the paper itself is far less certain about the lack of ILUC from biofuels>>:

Indirect land use change for biofuels: Testing predictions and improving analytical methodologies

Seungdo Kima, and Bruce E. Dale,

Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Michigan State University, 3900 Collins Road, Lansing, MI 48910, USA

Received 27 January 2011; revised 21 April 2011; accepted 25 April 2011. Available online 13 May 2011.

Abstract
Current practices for estimating indirect land use change (iLUC) due to United States biofuel production rely on assumption-heavy, global economic modeling approaches. Prior iLUC studies have failed to compare their predictions to past global historical data. An empirical approach is used to detect evidence for iLUC that might be catalyzed by United States biofuel production through a "bottom-up", data-driven, statistical approach. Results show that biofuel production in the United States from 2002 to 2007 is not significantly correlated with changes in croplands for corn (coarse grain) plus soybean in regions of the world which are corn (coarse grain) and soybean trading partners of the United States. The results may be interpreted in at least two different ways: 1) biofuel production in the United States through 2007 (the last date for which information is available) probably has not induced any indirect land use change, and 2) this empirical approach may not be sensitive enough to detect indirect land use change from the historical data. It seems clear that additional effort may be required to develop methodologies to observe indirect land use change from the historical data. Such efforts might reduce uncertainties in indirect land use change estimates or perhaps form the basis for better policies or standards for biofuels.

Highlights
&#9658; We search for evidence for ILUC due to US biofuel from the historical data. &#9658; No significant correlations are found between US biofuel production and cropland changes elsewhere. &#9658; US biofuel through 2007 probably did not induce ILUC or. &#9658; This empirical approach using historical data is not capable of detecting ILUC. &#9658; More sophisticated methodologies to detect ILUC from empirical data are needed.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V22-52VG272-9&_user=10165769&_coverDate=05%2F13%2F2011&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=&_origin=&_zone=rslt_list_item&_cdi=5690&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=1&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10165769&md5=c6b18b40e18edfc3b84a47a13f350cea&searchtype=a


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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

Your idea?