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Integrated assessment framework to guide the transition from fossil-based to biorenewable production aiming at enhance sustainable development

Grant number: 22/13576-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): September 04, 2023
Effective date (End): March 03, 2024
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal Investigator:Thayse Aparecida Dourado Hernandes
Grantee:Thayse Aparecida Dourado Hernandes
Host Investigator: Goran Berndes
Host Institution: Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (Brasil). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden  


Several works from different groups around the world, and applying different methodologies, approaches, and databases, have been published reiterating the importance of bioenergy as an essential and urgent substitute to fossil sources in mitigating climate change. Bioenergy often figures as one of the most promising alternatives to keep the global average temperature increase below 2°C and a significant increase on its production is expected, especially in tropical areas as Brazil. However, from more global approaches, such as the Integrated Assessment Models (IAM), to more process-based approaches, such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), there are limitations to apply their results for the design and planning of sustainable expansion measures to supply this growing demand. Literature pointed out limitations such as the number of feedstocks, the management practices, the representation of land quality, and spatially explicit issues and their implications for sustainable bioenergy deployment, especially on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Thus, this project aims to develop and validate an assessment framework that integrates spatially explicit data, feedstock and biomass production, conversion technologies and life cycle assessment into an assessment platform that allows the quantification of ecosystem functions and services related to bioenergy deployment, as well as its integrated assessment and continuous application on updating these data according to climate prediction models and ongoing land use changes (LUC). The framework will be applied in a case study, considering recent and future changes in the climate, to map possible changes in the agroecological zoning for sugarcane cultivation, as well as to evaluate possible changes in the impacts of bioenergy deployment as a climate change mitigation strategy and in other ecosystem functions and services. The development of the assessment framework will benefit from the Sugarcane Virtual Biorefinery (SVB), which consists of a set of models and tools that allow the technical, economic, and environmental assessment of bioenergy production technologies. The local and regional aspects will be accounted by incorporating to the SVB a crop yield estimation model, which brings estimations for sugarcane yields, evapotranspiration, and changes in carbon stocks. All the framework's data and results will be georeferenced and subject to further spatial analysis. The impacts of climate change on the production of sugarcane and its bioenergy in the Center-South region of Brazil will be mapped and will allow to evaluate the impact of climate change on sugarcane bioenergy production, climate change mitigation, and water cycling. In addition to carbon stocks, we also expect to address issues related to food production, conservation of native forest, and areas of high biodiversity interest. It is expected that this assessment framework can guide sugarcane cultivation and bioenergy production to regions that allow to maximize win-win solutions in terms of ecosystem functions and services. (AU)

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