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Assessing the sustainability of sugarcane bioenergy systems: Key criteria and methodological improvements (»Add to Infobox)

Research Leader: Professor Semida Silveira
Dilip Khatiwada

Energy and Climate Studies

The project deals with the sustainability aspects of sugarcane bioenergy systems, focusing on the net energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) balances of production and use of sugarcane-based bioethanol in a life cycle perspective in developing countries. We aim to compare cases in Nepal (Asia), Mozambique (Africa) and Brazil (Latin America). The objective is to evaluate the sustainability aspects, and refine existing methodologies for assessment of the sugarcane bioenergy systems in these regions.

The first case study was focused on Nepal, accounting for sugarcane-derived molasses-ethanol. Results of the evaluation show that the net energy and GHG balances are favorable compared to conventional gasoline. Concerns relating to the fuel vs. food debate, energy security and air pollution were also discussed.

To allow a comparative sustainability assessment of bioethanol production from sugarcane, methodological coherence and unification should be established and benchmarked globally in the context of evaluation of 1) sustainable bioenergy systems for product certification, and 2) international trade from a life cycle perspective. Therefore, the evaluation of sugarcane bioethanol, with methodological improvements towards an international common ground, is the next step of this research work

Period: 2008-06-01 - 2012-12-31

Bioethanol, Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions , Methodological improvements, Net energy balances, Sugarcane bioenergy, Sustainability

Project URL:


Energimyndigheten (Swedish Energy Agency)


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