Costs and benefits of biofuels in Asia

Authored by: Shabbir H. Gheewala , Noah Kittner , Xunpeng Shi

Routledge Handbook of Energy in Asia

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138999824
eBook ISBN: 9781315656977
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315656977.ch24

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Abstract

Agro-based liquid transportation fuels, or biofuels, have been promoted in several countries in Asia because of the relatively large potential availability of feedstock biomass. Furthermore, they may contribute to energy security goals and have received support due to perceived greenhouse gas emissions benefits. Employment generation, particularly in rural areas, has been another anticipated benefit. However, there have also been fears of negative impacts on land use, freshwater resources, and competition between food and fuel especially for the more vulnerable sections of society. After several years of biofuels promotion, it is interesting to evaluate past experiences and make recommendations for the future. To what extent have the perceived benefits of biofuels actually been achieved? What have been the associated costs – socio-economic as well as environmental? What are the pitfalls and what are the conditions under which benefits are possible? What are the other issues that need further consideration? What are the possible strategies to further improve the sustainability of biofuels? These questions are looked at from the point of view of both theory and practice in Asia.

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