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An assessment of the economic and environmental potential of biomass production in an agricultural region

journal contribution
posted on 2008-10-01, 00:00 authored by Brett BryanBrett Bryan, J Ward, T Hobbs
The establishment of deep-rooted perennial species and their processing for biomass-based products such as renewable energy can have benefits for both local and global scale environmental objectives. In this study, we assess the potential economic viability of biomass production in the South Australian River Murray Corridor and quantify the resultant benefits for local and global scale environmental objectives. We model the spatial distribution of economically viable biomass production in a Geographic Information System and quantify the model sensitivity and uncertainty using Monte Carlo analysis. The total potentially viable area for biomass production under the Most Likely Scenario is 360,728 ha (57.7% of the dryland agricultural area), producing over 3 million tonnes of green biomass per annum, with a total Net Present Value over 100 years of A$ 88 million. The salinity in the River Murray could be reduced by 2.65 EC (μS/cm) over a 100-year timeframe, and over 96,000 ha of land with high wind erosion potential could be stabilised over a much shorter period. With sufficient generating capacity, our Most Likely Scenario suggests that economically viable biomass production could reduce carbon emissions by over 1.7 million tonnes per annum through the production of renewable energy and a reduced reliance on coal-based electricity generation. Our analyses suggest that biomass production is a potentially viable alternative agricultural system that can have substantial local scale environmental benefits with complimentary global scale benefits for climate change mitigation.

History

Journal

Land use policy

Volume

25

Pagination

533-549

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

0264-8377

Language

eng

Publication classification

CN.1 Other journal article

Copyright notice

2007, Elsevier

Issue

4

Publisher

Elsevier

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