Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Cost-effective use of abandoned agricultural land for biofuel production

Nordin, Ida


Biofuel can be used to abate greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, by replacing fossil fuel. To avoid the problem of competition with food production, the use of abandoned agricultural land (AAL) for production of the feedstock for biofuel has been proposed. AAL has generally low productivity but has also low opportunity costs, and production of perennial bioenergy crops on it can lead to carbon sequestration. A spatially explicit optimization model of biofuel production and transport fuel consumption, applied to Sweden, was used for an analysis of how AAL can alter costs for greenhouse gas emissions abatement. Results show that, compared to the case without AAL, AAL could decrease the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 29%, for emissions reductions equivalent to 50% of current emissions from gasoline in Sweden. The carbon sequestration from establishing perennial bioenergy crops on AAL is the main driver of the positive results. High carbon sequestration on AAL implies larger emissions reduction for a given volume of biofuel, and the results show that the total biofuel production can be both smaller and larger with AAL. The use of arable land for biofuel production is generally smaller with AAL, but larger at some of the highest analyzed target levels. The low AAL feedstock costs contribute to lower costs of the total biofuel production, which pushes for more total biofuel production and less fuel use reduction and therefore counteracts the reduced use of arable land.The use if biofuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. Growing biomass for biofuel on agricultural land compete with food production. Using abandoned agricultural land could decrease the competition. This study examines if it also decreases costs for reducing emissions, using an economic model is used, which is applied to Sweden. The results show that using this land decreases cost for emissions reductions. One reason is that growing biomass on these areas result in an uptake of greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the costs for using the land can be relatively low.image


abandoned agricultural land; biofuel; carbon sequestration; cost minimization; greenhouse gas emissions; localization; perennial bioenergy crops; spatial model; transport sector

Published in

GCB Bioenergy
2024, Volume: 16, number: 7, article number: e13165
Publisher: WILEY

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Renewable Bioenergy Research

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)