• 13 hours PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 15 hours Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 17 hours Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 18 hours Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 19 hours Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 20 hours Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 21 hours Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 23 hours New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 1 day Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 1 day Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 1 day Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 2 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 2 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 2 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 2 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 2 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 2 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 2 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 2 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 2 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 3 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 3 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 3 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 3 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 3 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 4 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 4 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 4 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 4 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 4 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 4 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 4 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 4 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 4 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 5 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 5 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 5 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 5 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 5 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 5 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
Are Oil Markets Becoming Immune To Geopolitical Risk?

Are Oil Markets Becoming Immune To Geopolitical Risk?

The geopolitical risk premium in…

How To Play The Next Wireless Revolution

How To Play The Next Wireless Revolution

The global communications boom has…

Need Energy Storage? Try Abandoned Croplands

Need Energy Storage? Try Abandoned Croplands

One billion acres of abandoned cropland around the world could provide sustainable energy storage, according to a new study that promotes biomass as a key player in sustainable energy planning.

The study, published by the Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution, claims that the bioenergy from abandoned croplands could supply most of the storage needs for a range of energy production initiatives.

The study estimates the global extent of abandoned crop and pastureland and calculated their potential for sustainable bioenergy production from historical land-use data, satellite imaging and ecosystem models. On a global level, we’re talking about one billion acres of abandoned agricultural, all fallow.

Related article: $750 Billion in Food Wasted Every Year

"Our study shows that there is clearly a potential for developing sustainable bioenergy, and we've been able to identify areas where biomass can be grown for energy, without endangering food security or making climate change worse." Chris Field, Director of Department of Global Ecology.

In the US alone, new estimates show that there are around 68 million hectares of abandoned cropland that could be used for bioenergy production. This is 70% more than previous gridded estimates.

Using these lands for energy crops, instead of converting existing croplands or clearing new land, avoids competition with food production and preserves carbon-storing forests needed to mitigate climate change.

The study lists three broad categories of crops that have potential for bioenergy: food crops, local native plants and special bioenergy crops such as switchgrass or elephant grass.

Related article: New Energy Storage System Turns Wind Energy into Clean Natural Gas

Using a wide range of biomass yields and conversion efficiencies, potential bioenergy production has an upper-limit of 5%-30% of the current US primary energy demand, or 4%-30% of the current US liquid fuel demand, according to the study.

In terms of square kilometers, we are looking at some 4.7 million square kilometers of abandoned lands globally and 274,133 square kilometers in the US—that’s larger than the state of Texas.

The largest potential, then, is in the US, followed by Brazil and Australia—all of which have more extensive areas of abandoned crop and pasture lands.

Within the US, the east and mid-west have the greatest potential.

So is the bioenergy elixir we’ve been waiting for? Not necessarily. While this abandoned land could be put to massive bioenergy use, even if 100% of it were to be turned into bioenergy production sites, it would still only yield enough for about 6% of US national energy needs, the study notes.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Jörg Dürre on September 27 2013 said:
    Maybe using this land for photovoltaics instead would be a little better idea.
    Theoretical efficiency of photosynthesis: 1% conversion of sunlight into biomass
    Practical efficiency of standard photovoltaics: 16% conversion of sun to electricity

    Put some sheep under the panels for some extra % and the total adds up to, lets say: not so bad.
  • Richard Prior on September 25 2013 said:
    What a stupid idea!

    This is from a Company specializing in No Fuel Energy.

    This issue with Biomass is entirely related to transport of materials to a dense population that can utilise both heat and electrical energy.

    Transport costs and instability of long term supply contracts from small suppliers - Kills this concept stone dead.

    Did you know that a 1MWp Biomass Power Station requires 105,000 tons of Wood chips per yr. Other agricultural waste products are much less energy efficient.

    Non starter.

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News