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Spatially explicit modelling of biofuel crops in Europe

This paper describes a methodology to explore the (future) spatial distribution of biofuel crops in Europe. Two main types of biofuel crops are distinguished: biofuel crops used for the production of biodiesel or bioethanol, and second-generation biofuel crops. A multiscale, multi-model approach is used in which biofuel crops are allocated over the period 2000?2030. The area of biofuel crops at the national level is determined by a macroeconomic model. A spatially explicit land use model is used to allocate the biofuel crops within the countries. Four scenarios have been prepared based on storylines influencing the extent and spatial distribution of biofuel crop cultivation. The allocation algorithm consists of two steps. In the first step, processing plants are allocated based on location factors that are dependent on the type of biofuel crop processed and scenario conditions. In the second step, biofuel crops are allocated accounting for the transportation costs to the processing plants. Both types of biofuel crops are allocated separately based on different location factors. Despite differences between the scenarios, mostly the same areas are showing growth in biofuel crop cultivation in all scenarios. These areas stand out because they have a combination of well-developed infrastructural and industrial facilities and large areas of suitable arable land. The spatially explicit results allow an assessment of the potential consequences of large-scale biofuel crop cultivation for ecology and environment.

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Fritz Hellmann
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