Cutting through the biofuel confusion

17 March 2021
Energy system
Conceptual framework

In a new article published in Energy Strategy Reviews, MAGIC researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona propose a novel conceptual framework to assess the performance of energy systems with a strong focus on biofuels. The proposed framework integrates four key aspects of biofuel systems: (1) the social factors determining the desirability of biofuel use on the demand side – why do we want to produce biofuels?; (2) the internal technical and economic constraints affecting the viability of their mode of production on the supply side – how can we produce biofuels?; (3) the external biophysical constraints limiting the feasibility of their production – what are the material limits imposed by the availability of natural resources?; (4) the level of openness of the biofuel system referring to the imports used to overcome local limits – the level of externalization of the requirement of natural resources and technical production factors reducing energy security. The conceptual framework is meant to guide researchers in generating a biophysical characterization of the supply function of a biofuel system (which inputs are needed to generate the supply) contextualized against a biophysical characterization of the societal demand (what inputs society is ready to invest in the energy system in order to obtain the supply).

For more details, see the full article: Ripa M, Cadillo-Benalcazar JJ & Giampietro M (2021), 'Cutting through the biofuel confusion: A conceptual framework to check the feasibility, viability and desirability of biofuels', Energy Strategy Reviews, vol. 35, article 100642,