Lessons from first generation biofuels and implications for the sustainability appraisal of second generation biofuels

Mohr, Alison and Raman, Sujatha (2013) Lessons from first generation biofuels and implications for the sustainability appraisal of second generation biofuels. Energy Policy, 63 . pp. 114-122. ISSN 0301-4215

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The emergence of second generation (2G) biofuels is widely seen as a sustainable response to the

increasing controversy surrounding the first generation (1G). Yet, sustainability credentials of 2G biofuels

are also being questioned. Drawing on work in Science and Technology Studies, we argue that controversies

help focus attention on key, often value-related questions that need to be posed to address broader societal

concerns. This paper examines lessons drawn from the 1G controversy to assess implications for the

sustainability appraisal of 2G biofuels.

We present an overview of key 1G sustainability challenges, assess their relevance for 2G, and

highlight the challenges for policy in managing the transition. We address limitations of existing

sustainability assessments by exploring where challenges might emerge across the whole system of

bioenergy and the wider context of the social system in which bioenergy research and policy are done.

Key lessons arising from 1G are potentially relevant to the sustainability appraisal of 2G

biofuels depending on the particular circumstances or conditions under which 2G is introduced. We

conclude that sustainability challenges commonly categorised as either economic, environmental or social

are, in reality, more complexly interconnected (so that an artificial separation of these categories is


Item Type: Article
RIS ID: https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/717948
Keywords: biofuels, bioenergy, sustainability, sustainability appraisal, whole system
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Science and Society
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.08.033
Depositing User: Mohr, Dr Alison
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2014 09:45
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 16:38
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3014

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