Lessons from first generation biofuels and implications for the sustainability appraisal of second generation biofuels☆

Article English OPEN
Mohr, Alison ; Raman, Sujatha (2013)
  • Publisher: Butterworths [etc.]
  • Journal: Energy Policy (issn: 0301-4215, vol: 63, pp: 114-122)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4048104, doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.08.033
  • Subject: Energy(all) | Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law | Whole system | Biofuels | Sustainability | Article

The emergence of second generation (2G) biofuels is widely seen as a sustainable response to the\ud increasing controversy surrounding the first generation (1G). Yet, sustainability credentials of 2G biofuels\ud are also being questioned. Drawing on work in Science and Technology Studies, we argue that controversies\ud help focus attention on key, often value-related questions that need to be posed to address broader societal\ud concerns. This paper examines lessons drawn from the 1G controversy to assess implications for the\ud sustainability appraisal of 2G biofuels.\ud We present an overview of key 1G sustainability challenges, assess their relevance for 2G, and\ud highlight the challenges for policy in managing the transition. We address limitations of existing\ud sustainability assessments by exploring where challenges might emerge across the whole system of\ud bioenergy and the wider context of the social system in which bioenergy research and policy are done.\ud Key lessons arising from 1G are potentially relevant to the sustainability appraisal of 2G\ud biofuels depending on the particular circumstances or conditions under which 2G is introduced. We\ud conclude that sustainability challenges commonly categorised as either economic, environmental or social\ud are, in reality, more complexly interconnected (so that an artificial separation of these categories is\ud problematic).
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