Main content area

Assessment of the potential and distribution of an energy crop at 1-km resolution from 2010 to 2100 in China – The case of sweet sorghum

Nie, Yaoyu, Cai, Wenjia, Wang, Can, Huang, Guorui, Ding, Qun, Yu, Le, Li, Haoran, Ji, Duoying
Applied energy 2019 v.239 pp. 395-407
agricultural land, biofuels, climate change, crop management, energy crops, geographic information systems, land use change, models, planning, soil, sweet sorghum, topography, uncertainty, China
Biofuel from energy crops will play an important role in supplying carbon-neutral fuel for the transport sector. However, there are large uncertainties regarding energy crop development and the energy crop potential and distribution need to be evaluated more comprehensively and systematically. In this study, we propose an integrated approach using the AquaCrop model, a geographic information system approach, and a scenario analysis and we conduct a land availability assessment with multiple factors including climate change, land use, soil, topography, regional crop management, and technological improvement to shed light on the potential production, distribution, and temporal-spatial variation of land suitable for sweet sorghum production in China. We evaluate a full range of spatial scales from 1-km resolution to a national assessment in four representative concentration pathways from 2010 to 2100. The results show that most provinces can plant sweet sorghum. The most suitable provinces for sweet sorghum production are Xinjiang, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, and Sichuan. The biofuel potential of sweet sorghum in high-slope farmland (0.30–0.73 EJ) and marginal land (11.98–15.18 EJ) can satisfy the biofuel goal in 2020 (0.12 EJ) and 2050 (6.70–8.60 EJ). Climate change and land-use change are critical factors influencing for the current implementation and long-term planning of energy crops in China.