Addressing the sustainability of sugarcane
Biofuels International, January/Febuary 2018
Sugarcane is one of the major feedstocks used in the production of ethanol, accounting for 80% of the sugar produced worldwide. According to the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2016, around 22% of the total production of sugarcane will be used for ethanol production by 2025. This alcohol-based biofuel enjoys great popularity in the biofuels industry due to its low carbon footprint, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 71% by default compared to fossil fuel. Furthermore, it is a very efficient crop, producing around 600-800 gallons of fuel per acre, which is about twice as efficient as corn.
Despite the many positive aspects of sugarcane biofuel, sustainability challenges such as the need to protect high-biodiversity and high-carbon stock areas as well as to implement good agricultural and social practices cannot be neglected.