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Reconciling food and bioenergy feedstock supply in emerging economies: Evidence from Jiangsu Province in China

Shu, Kesheng, Scheffran, Jürgen, Schneider, Uwe A., Yang, Liang E., Elflein, John
International journal of green energy 2017 v.14 no.6 pp. 509-521
arable soils, bioenergy, biomass, case studies, developed countries, energy crops, farmers, feedstocks, food availability, food crops, supply chain, China
This study takes the perspective of emerging economies as an independent group to answer the question of how to reconcile food supply and bioenergy feedstock provision, a critical topic in bioenergy research. While much of the literature has covered this issue, the role of emerging economies has rarely been explored. Due to their transitional status in the world economy, solutions from this group can facilitate the diffusion of modern bioenergy from industrialized countries to least developed ones. This paper uses Jiangsu Province in China as a case study to analyze its local practice on the reconciliation between food and bioenergy. Local experience reveals that the key is the use of cellulosic biomass, whose sources are straws of food crops on arable lands and energy crops on reclaimed mudflats. To ensure a sustainable provision of cellulosic biomass, it is necessary to involve the entire bioenergy supply chain consisting of smallholder farmers, haulers and bioenergy plant operators. For the management of the supply chain, we compare two options, “Multiple to Multiple” and “Multiple to One”, where the second option is more adequate to shape a long-term stable relationship between biomass suppliers and consumers and thus facilitate the introduction of energy crops.