Spanning Boundaries for Alternative Aviation Fuels
Biomass production for energy purposes has risen considerably in recent years. The biggest growth in this area has been in the production of liquid biofuels for the transportation sector using agricultural crops as an alternative feedstock to crude oil. The largest amount of liquid biofuel is produced form either ethanol (based on sugar or starch based crops) or biodiesel (based on oil-bearing crops). From this development, agricultural production has crossed the boundary from mainly producing food to a raw material for energy production. However, the large expansion of energy crops, induced by growing demand and supported by new energy and environmental policies, is not without problems. It generates increasing competition for natural resources, notably land and water, and it can also cause negative social (e.g. “land grabbing” by investors) and environmental impacts (e.g. water and biodiversity problems).