Mapping the sustainability of bioenergy to maximise benefits, mitigate risks and drive progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals


Demand for biomass resources will continue to grow as bioenergy is increasingly targeted within energy strategies. Sustainability is a primary issue for large scale bioenergy, with potential to generate both risks and benefits for people, development, natural systems and for climate change – this balance of risks and benefits determining overall sustainability performance. A new sustainability mapping framework is introduced that provides a flexible tool (BSIM) to map the performances of biomass resources, supply chains, technologies and/or whole value chains against 126 indicators of sustainability. Sustainability maps are developed and assessments undertaken for case studies in the UK and Colombia. This research finds sustainability of bioenergy covers far more issues than those targeted within legislation – where land, carbon and biodiversity are prioritised. Mapping sustainability is a valuable tool to identify the leading risks and benefits to enable targeted actions to mitigate risks and to maximise and promote benefits. Mapping sustainability at different resolutions and analysing the trade-offs enables greater rationalisation of potential risks through also identifying the potential broader benefits gained. Bioenergy is intrinsically linked to the SDGs more so than other renewable technologies and should be used as a mechanism to drive sustainable development.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI)
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Funding Information: The authors thank EPSRC , BBSRC and UK Supergen Bioenergy Hub (EP /S000771/1 ) who funded time to complete this research. The authors thank the many organisations and individuals who gave their time to contribute to our stakeholder engagement activities.
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY licensee 4.0 Funding Information: The authors thank EPSRC , BBSRC and UK Supergen Bioenergy Hub (EP /S000771/1 ) who funded time to complete this research.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bioenergy,Biomass,Mapping,Modelling,SDGs,Sustainability,Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
Publication ISSN: 1879-0682
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 07:40
Date Deposited: 23 May 2022 11:44
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://www.sci ... 4463?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-05
Published Online Date: 2022-04-22
Accepted Date: 2022-03-29
Authors: Welfle, Andrew
Röder, Mirjam (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8021-3078)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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