, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 91–99 | Cite as

Agriculture as Provider of Both Food and Fuel

  • Kersti JohanssonEmail author
  • Karin Liljequist
  • Lars Ohlander
  • Kjell Aleklett
Review Paper


A database of global agricultural primary production has been constructed and used to estimate its energy content. The portion of crops available for food and biofuel after postharvest losses was evaluated. The basic conditions for agriculture and plant growth were studied, to ensure sustainable scenarios regarding use of residues. The available energy contents for the world and EU27 was found to be 7,200–9,300 and 430 TWh, respectively, to be compared with food requirements of 7,100 and 530 TWh. Clearly, very little, or nothing, remains for biofuel from agricultural primary crops. However, by using residues and bioorganic waste, it was found that biofuel production could theoretically replace one-fourth of the global consumption of fossil fuels for transport. The expansion potential for global agriculture is limited by availability of land, water, and energy. A future decrease in supply of fossil energy and ongoing land degradation will thus cause difficulties for increased biofuel production from agriculture.


Biofuel Bioenergy Food security 



The authors would like to thank the following members Viktor Aguilar, AgrD, Universidad Nacional Agraria (UNA), Managua, Nicaragua, Johan Ascard, AgrD, Swedish board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket), Kristina Belfrage, PhD, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Bengt Bodin, AgrD, SLU, Birgitta Båth, AgrD, Department of Crop Production Ecology, SLU, Mr. P.O. Crona, Nordmills, Mr. Mats Edström, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Science (JTI), Professor Per-Anders Hansson, Department of Energy and Technology, SLU, Professor Larry Hughes, Energy Research Group, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Professor Emeritus Sven Kullander, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Professor Jan Erik Lindberg, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, SLU, Professor Mats Olsson, Department of Soil and Environment, SLU, Professor Emeritus Jan Persson, SLU, Francisco Salmeron, AgrD, UNA, Donald Schmidt, PhD, Mr. Telémaco Talavera, president of UNA.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kersti Johansson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karin Liljequist
    • 1
  • Lars Ohlander
    • 2
  • Kjell Aleklett
    • 1
  1. 1.Global Energy Systems, Department of Physics and AstronomyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Crop Production EcologySwedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)UppsalaSweden

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