It has been argued by some that the substitution of biofuels for gasoline could increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rather than reduce them. The increase is attributed to the indirect land use change effects of planting new grain and corn crops around the world to replace those progressively being devoted to ethanol production. In this paper, indirect effects are minimised by allowing land to be used for both food and fuel, rather than for one or the other. We present a sugarcane 'feed+fuel' biorefinery, which produces bioethanol and yeast biomass, a source of single-cell protein (SCP), that can be used as a high-protein animal feed supplement. The yeast SCP can partially substitute for grass in the feed of cattle grazing on pasture and thereby potentially release land for increased sugarcane production, with minimal land use change effects. Applying the concept conservatively to the Brazilian ethanol and livestock industry our model demonstrates that it would be technically feasible to raise ethanol production threefold from the current level of 27. GL to over 92. GL. The extra ethanol would meet biofuel market mandates in the US without bringing any extra land into agricultural or pastoral use. The analysis demonstrates a viable way to increase biofuel and food production by linking two value chains as called for by industrial ecology studies.
- Indirect land use changes
- Linked biofuel and beef cattle value chains
- Yeast (single-cell protein) as an animal feed partial substitute