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Table 1 Bioenergy feedstocks

From: Bioenergy and African transformation

Crop category Example Industry status Land, environment, and energy
Starch-rich1 Maize, wheat, sorghum About 50 billion L ethanol in the US based on maize Typically grown on high-quality cropland with substantial fertilizer input. Fossil energy displacement ratio 1.3 to 1.7. 4,000 L ethanol/ha in the U.S.
Sugar-rich2 Sugarcane, sugar beets About 23 billion L ethanol in Brazil based on sugarcane Grown primarily on former pastureland in Brazil. Agrichemical inputs less than maize. Fossil energy displacement ratio about 8 to 10. 6,700 L/ha in Brazil today, could be substantially higher with conversion of cellulosics, energy cane.
Oil-rich3 Rapeseed, soy, sunflower, palm oil About 23 billion L produced worldwide, most in the EU, US, and Brazil Rapeseed, soy generally grown on cropland. Most palm oil plantations are on former forests. Fossil energy displacement ratio 2 to 2.5 for rapeseed and soy, about 4 to 8 for palm. 530 L/ha for soy in Argentina; 3,600 L/ha for palm in Malaysia.
Cellulosic4 Grass, trees, various wastes 331 TWh electricity globally. Liquid fuel capacity about 175 million L worldwide Could in principle grow on land unsuitable for crops. Potential environmental benefits when incorporated into agricultural landscapes. Fossil energy displacement ratio somewhat speculative for liquid fuel production but expected to be similar to sugarcane. Over 7500 L/ha based on miscanthus yields in the US (25 tonnes/ha), 75 US gal/ton.
  1. 1Starch-rich crops: annual production [39]; fossil energy displacement [40]; corn yield [41]; dry mill yield [42].
  2. 2Sugar-rich crops: annual production [43]; fossil energy displacement and ethanol land yield [44].
  3. 3Oil-rich crops: annual production [7]; fossil energy displacement [45,46]; soy oil yield [47]; palm oil yield [48].
  4. 4Cellulosic crops: global electricity [49]; global cellulosic biofuel capacity [37]; current miscanthus yields [50].