Biofuel Civil Society

Are biofuel concerns globally relevant? Prospects for a proposed pioneer bioethanol project in South Africa

Biofuels are controversial because of uncertain environmental benefits and reported social drawbacks, including ‘land grabs’ and threats to food security. The present study investigates the relevance of these concerns for a proposed bioethanol project in Cradock, South Africa. The proposed project is anticipated to lead to economic upliftment and could therefore contribute to reduce poverty and thus strengthen food security. With a projected annual production of up to 16,000 l ethanol per hectare, yields would be substantially higher than in most other countries. Agricultural activity would take place on existing farm land, or on biomes classified as ‘least concern’. We estimate a carbon footprint reduction of ~ 30% for sugar beet ethanol in the area. Because various global biofuel concerns do not apply to the proposed Cradock fuel ethanol project, we argue for a more nuanced approach for the evaluation of biofuel projects with more focus on case-specific attributes

Download the journal article: Are biofuel concerns globally relevant? Prospects for a proposed pioneer bioethanol project in South Africa

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