PhD project by Abigail Muscat. The increased demand for biomass will mean that land and other natural resources for food and energy production will become increasingly scarce and that environmental impacts associated with food and energy production can be exacerbated. In this context, it becomes increasingly important to utilise biomass at its highest utility, requiring insight into the competition for biomass between feed for livestock, food for humans and bioenergy.
A growing global population, increased demand for meat, dairy products, and crops for energy will mean that resources from agriculture will become increasingly strained in the future. Feeding the population and meeting consumer demands while also mitigating climate change will, therefore, be a challenge. This is especially a challenge for policy-makers who need to strike a balance between different policy goals such as food security, energy security and climate mitigation.
This problem is encapsulated in competition for food-feed-fuel uses which compete for biomass, land, water and economic resources. In this context, it becomes increasingly important to utilise biomass at its highest utility, requiring insight into the competition for biomass between feed for livestock, food for humans and bioenergy specifically by focusing on these dilemmas within the EU and the EU’s influence at a global scale. Within the EU land is limited and bioenergy still represents the largest share (64%) of renewable energy while at a global level, EU demand of products may affect resources elsewhere. This research project will find ways to address these dilemmas by:
- conducting a systematic literature review of biomass competition for all three uses
- assessing EU energy and agricultural policies for policy coherence, synergies and trade-offs and
- by quantifying these synergies and trade-offs within EU case-studies.
Future solutions to address trade-offs and incoherence in policies will be aided by generating scenarios.
The results of this project can, therefore, gain insight into resource competition and inform EU policy-making for more cohesive policies on energy and agriculture.