In recent decades biofuels have become an important alternative to oil,
both from an economic and a political viewpoint. Several countries which
have significant agricultural sectors and which face critical issues
with regards to areas such as rural livelihoods, employment, economic
growth and domestic energy supplies, have elected to engage in the
production and use of biofuels. In turn, the development of biofuels has
led to a number of issues which are especially pertinent when considered
on an industrial level.
The objective of the Biofuels Scoping Review is to evaluate the current
literature on research related to eight sub-topics: energy efficiency
and climate change potential; food security; land-use change;
livelihoods; economic growth and jobs; technology; trade; and policy.
The review aims to identify the main policy issues as well as research
gaps for future consideration. Research undertaken in the African
context is the primary focus of the review but relevant work undertaken
elsewhere is also referred to.
The research covered is concerned with one or more of the three elements
of the Biofuels \"trilemma\" (Tilman et al 2009): biofuels as an
alternative to fossil fuels as a source of energy; reduction of
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental concerns; and,
competition over feedstocks for agricultural production. Closely related
to these three strands are effects on human welfare and trade-offs
between competing demands for food, energy and the environment, with
these trade-offs becoming critical where there is poverty and direct
The main conclusions of the review are: that there are significant gaps
in the existing research; that there is evidence indicating the
viability of biofuel production in African countries; and, that there
are a number of different areas of research where DFID could add value.
The report is structured as follows:
- Section I is an introductory section detailing the background and
scope of the review.
- Section II presents the current state of knowledge and understanding
regarding each of the eight biofuels sub-topics.
- Section III considers known research programmes and operational
interventions, research gaps, and provides conclusions.
The accompanying presentation provides a
succinct and informative summary of the main areas of the report and key
Di Falco, S.; Doku, A.; Palmer, C. Final report. Biofuels scoping review. Evidence on Demand, UK (2013) 46 pp. [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12774/eod_cr.june2013.di_falco]