Title: Sustainable biomass: an enduring quest amid pressing requests
1: INRA AgroParisTech UMR1091 Environment et Grandes Cultures, Thiverval-Grignon, France.
* corresponding author:
INRA, AgroParisTech EcoSys Joint Research Unit, F-78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France.
E-mail: Benoit.Gabrielle@agroparistech.fr Phone; (+33) 1 30 81 55 51 Fax: (+33) 1 30 81 55 63
Meeting future policy targets for the development of bioenergy and the bio-economy in general poses major challenges for biomass feedstock supply chains in terms of competitiveness, reliability and sustainability. Securing a supply of biomass feedstock that is regular in quantity and quality is also a key factor of success for bio-based projects, exacerbated by the scattered nature of biomass resources. In addition, biomass production has to comply with increasingly stringent environmental standards – making it hard to match the afore-mentioned expectations regarding the expansion of bioenergy.
In this lecture, I will address these issues in the light of recent European projects on the availability of biomass resources, their sustainability and supply chain logistics. Certification schemes and recent regulations on biofuels provide a relevant starting point to define sustainability criteria for biomass and bio-based value chains. The quantification of these criteria relies on widespread methodologies such as life-cycle assessment, while social impacts are harder to tackle. Their application may guide in the selection of feedstocks, crop management practices, or supply chain design, and will be illustrated in the context of the recently completed projects on biomass logistics for energy crops, agricultural and forest residues. The case-studies developed in these projects will highlight potential ways to improve the performance of biomass supply chains altogether with uncertainties associated with the evaluation of sustainability criteria. Taking into account the spatial distribution of bioenergy crops appears paramount to adequately capture their environmental impacts, in particular on biodiversity on the relationship with food production. Tackling land-use change effects in particular is necessary, and should be addressed on local to global scales.
The talk will conclude on future lines of research and avenues to promote sustainable biomass supply chains in Europe. Implications for the design of supply chains and policies will also be discussed.