Soy

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Bioenergy > Feedstocks > Biodiesel feedstocks > Soy


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Information about biofuel produced from soy/soy oil (also known as "soya").

Soy is a nitrogen fixing crop that can be produced for food, animal feed and biofuels.


Contents

Sustainability

Papers/reports

  • Food, fuel, and the hidden margins of capital, by Peter D. Richards; April 2011 in the Journal of Land Use Science.
    • From the Abstract: "Perhaps no region has drawn more attention to the environmental impacts of expanding agricultural production than the Amazon....In this article, I provide a location-based conceptualization of indirect land use change that brings to light the intra-regional movement of capital and skills between the cattle and agriculture sectors. The article suggests that amid rapid increases in rents for soy production and land prices, ranchers face strong incentives to relocate their operations to forest regions."[2]
  • Forest Footprint Disclosure Annual Review (PDF file) - This February 2010 Forest Footprint Disclosure Project report makes available the results of its 2009 company disclosure request. The report "reveals the names of those businesses that have responded to its first call to disclose details of their ‘Forest Footprint’," defined as "the extent to which procurement policies for Forest Risk Commodities (FRCs) such as palm oil, soy, timber, beef, leather and biofuels are linked to deforestation. The Report identifies two high profile British High Street names as ‘Best Performers’ in their sectors – Marks & Spencer (General Retail) and Sainsbury’s (Food and Drug Retail)." [3] (PDF file)

News

2012

  • Biodiesel doubts threaten EU green transport targets, 5 March 2012 by Reuters: "The European Union will almost certainly miss its 2020 targets for cutting transport fuel emissions if policymakers act on scientific warnings about the climate impact of biofuels."
    • "Several EU studies have questioned the climate benefits of biodiesel made from European rapeseed and imported palm oil and soybeans, and some have warned that it releases as many climate-warming emissions as conventional diesel...."
    • "If the EU penalises crop-specific biofuels for their estimated ILUC emissions, any incentive for governments and oil firms to promote biodiesel from rapeseed, palm oil and soybeans would disappear...."
    • "The Commission has already drafted two compromise proposals on ILUC without reaching an agreement on either, reflecting deep internal divisions on the issue."
    • "The deal now under discussion would penalise biofuels for their crop-specific ILUC emissions in the fuel quality law but not the renewable energy directive, removing the incentive for oil companies to buy biodiesel without excluding it entirely...."[4]

2011

  • ‘Carbon debt’ created by some biofuels must be considered in sustainability debate, new study shows, 30 November 2011 by CIFOR: "Despite being heralded as a green alternative to fossil fuels, a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has found that carbon emissions generated from land conversion for biodiesel production may take decades to hundreds of years to reverse in some cases, raising serious questions about biodiesel sustainability."
    • "'It really matters how you produce biofuels and what land you grow it on as to whether you are going to get climate change benefits,' said Louis Verchot, CIFOR scientist and co-author of Implications of Biodiesel-Induced Land-Use Changes for CO2 Emissions: Case Studies in Tropical America, Africa, and Southeast Asia published in a special feature of Ecology and Society."
    • "Fluctuating oil prices and growing concerns about climate change have led to a renewed commitment to renewable energy, with demand for biofuels such as those produced from palm oil, jatropha and soy increasing in recent years."
    • "The strength of this work is in the comparisons between different feed stocks and different settings. 'The take-home message,' says Verchot, 'is not that biofuels are bad for the atmosphere. Rather, the results point to important considerations that must be taken into account to make biofuels sustainable.'"[6]
  • Carbon debt for some biofuels lasts centuries, 30 November 2011 by Mongabay.com: "An innovative new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) published in Ecology and Society has computed how long it would take popular biofuel crops to payoff the "carbon debt" of land conversion."
    • "While there is no easy answer—it depends on the type of land converted and the productivity of the crop—the study did find that in general soy had the shortest carbon debt, though still decades-long, while palm oil grown on peatland had the longest on average."
    • "Looking at three different types of biofuels in six countries, the study found that soy grown in parts of Brazil would require 30 years to make-up its carbon debt, which is as good as it gets. Palm oil would require 59-220 years, while jatropha would require 76-310 years, depending on the type of land that was converted."
    • "The study found that these three biofuel crops could only be deemed sustainable if grown on permanent crop or pastureland that was not already in use for growing foods, i.e. was degraded or abandoned, in order to prevent leakage."[7]
    • Download the report, Implications of Biodiesel-Induced Land-Use Changes for CO2 Emissions: Case Studies in Tropical America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
  • Biodiesel industry rejects EU land use impact study, 7 October 2011 by Reuters: "Europe's biodiesel industry rejected the findings of a draft EU study showing that the cultivation of rapeseed to make road transport fuels is worse for the climate than using conventional diesel."
    • "The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) said on Friday the study's central finding -- that the effects of indirect land use to produce most types of biodiesel cancel out any theoretical emissions savings -- was 'highly debatable and unscientific.'"
    • "A series of leaked EU studies showed that biodiesel from European rapeseed, South American soy beans and Asian palm oil all have a greater overall climate impact that normal diesel."
    • "If the Commission follows the advice contained in the studies and penalizes individual biofuel crops on the basis of their estimated ILUC emissions, it could wipe out the bloc's 13 billion euro ($17.5 billion) biodiesel industry overnight."
    • "It would also give a boost to ethanol producers such as Spain's Abengoa and increase the market for fuels derived from Brazilian sugar cane as the EU seeks to fill the 80 percent gap in its biofuel market currently occupied by biodiesel."[8]
  • First EU sustainability schemes for biofuels get the go-ahead, 19 July 2011 press release by the European Commission: "In order to receive government support or count towards mandatory national renewable energy targets, biofuels used in the EU, whether locally produced or imported, have to comply with sustainability criteria. These criteria aim at preventing the conversion of areas of high biodiversity and high carbon stock for the production of raw materials for biofuels. In practice this means that biofuels made of crops that have been grown on land that used to be rainforest or natural grassland with a unique ecosystem cannot be considered as sustainable. In addition, the greenhouse gas emissions over the whole production chain need to be at least 35% lower compared to fossil fuels. That threshold will increase over time."
    • "Companies can choose whether to demonstrate compliance with these sustainability requirements through national systems or by joining a voluntary scheme which is recognised by the Commission."
    • "After a detailed assessment made by the Commission and various improvements the following schemes were recognised:
      • ISCC (German (government financed) scheme covering all types of biofuels)
      • Bonsucro EU (Roundtable initiative for sugarcane based biofuels, focus on Brazil)
      • RTRS EU RED (Roundtable initiative for soy based biofuels, focus on Argentina and Brazil)
      • RSB EU RED (Roundtable initiative covering all types of biofuels)
      • 2BSvs (French industry scheme covering all types of biofuels)
      • RSBA (Industry scheme for Abengoa covering their supply chain)
      • Greenergy (Industry scheme for Greenergy covering sugar cane ethanol from Brazil)
    • "The Commission is currently discussing with other voluntary schemes how these can also improve their standard in order to meet the sustainability requirements for biofuels."[9]
  • Analysis: EU cushions biodiesel from damning carbon research, 15 July 2011 by Reuters: "The EU will protect existing investment in its $13 billion biodiesel sector even as it acts on new evidence that suggests making the fuel from food crops can do more harm than good in fighting climate change."
    • "The reports said using Asian palm oil, South American soybeans and EU rapeseed to make biodiesel has a bigger overall impact than conventional diesel on climate change, partly due to forests or wetlands being destroyed to grow replacement food."
    • "European Union policymakers are preparing a political compromise that will safeguard existing biodiesel investments, having baulked at penalizing individual biofuel crops."
    • "With biodiesel representing about 80 percent of Europe's estimated $17 billion market for biofuels and the bloc dependent on diesel imports to meet rising demand, the officials agreed to delay any action that could kill off the biodiesel sector."
    • "The dilemma facing EU policymakers concerns a relatively new concept known as indirect land-use change (ILUC), which challenges the notion that biofuels only emit as much carbon when burned as they absorbed during growth."[10]
  • Climate impact threatens biodiesel future in EU, 8 July 2011 by Reuters: "Europe's world-leading $13 billion biodiesel industry, which has boomed in the wake of a decision by Brussels policymakers in 2003 to promote it, is now on the verge of being legislated out of existence after the studies revealed biodiesel's indirect impact cancels out most of its benefits."
    • "Biofuels were once seen as a silver bullet for curbing transport emissions, based on a theory that they only emit as much carbon as they absorbed during growth."
    • "But that has been undermined by a new concept known as 'indirect land-use change' (ILUC), which scientists are still struggling to accurately quantify."
    • "'The experts unanimously agreed that, even when uncertainties are high, there is strong evidence that the ILUC effect is significant,' said the report from the Commission's November workshop."
    • "Biodiesel from Asian palm oil, South American soy beans, and EU rapeseed all had a bigger overall climate impact than conventional diesel, said a fourth leaked document."[11]
  • EU rules on biofuel concern soybean growers, 28 May 2011 by DesMoinesRegister.com: "The European Union has set new environmental and labor standards for the crops used to make biofuels there, angering U.S. farmers who worry that such restrictions could spread to other products and countries."
    • "The standards include greenhouse gas limits that biofuel feedstocks must meet, and U.S. soybeans don't qualify as a feedstock for European biodiesel."
    • "Also in the rules is a requirement that exporters be able to trace the source of a shipment back to the farms on which it was grown, something the U.S. industry can't do with existing storage and transportation practices."
    • "The European Union's new biofuel rules reflected concerns that increased production of palm oil and other crops could encourage destruction of rain forests and other environmental harm."
    • "Biofuel feedstocks are required to reduce greenhouse emissions by 35 percent in comparison to petroleum, but soybeans are credited with only a 31 percent reduction regardless of where they are grown. European-produced rapeseed, or canola, is rated at 38 percent. The calculations take into account such factors as how much energy is used to produce the crop and whether forests were cleared to grow it."[12]
  • Statistical confirmation of indirect land use change in the Brazilian Amazon, 24 May 2011 by Eugenio Y Arima, Peter Richards, Robert Walker and Marcellus M Caldas in Environmental Research Letters; from the Abstract:
    • "Expansion of global demand for soy products and biofuel poses threats to food security and the environment. One environmental impact that has raised serious concerns is loss of Amazonian forest through indirect land use change (ILUC), whereby mechanized agriculture encroaches on existing pastures, displacing them to the frontier. This phenomenon has been hypothesized by many researchers and projected on the basis of simulation for the Amazonian forests of Brazil....The present article [utilizes] a spatial regression model capable of linking the expansion of mechanized agriculture in settled agricultural areas to pasture conversions on distant, forest frontiers. In an application for a recent period (20032008), the model demonstrates that ILUC is significant and of considerable magnitude. Specifically, a 10% reduction of soy in old pasture areas would have decreased deforestation by as much as 40% in heavily forested counties of the Brazilian Amazon. Evidently, the voluntary moratorium on primary forest conversions by Brazilian soy farmers has failed to stop the deforestation effects of expanding soy production...."[13]
  • Brazil: Amazon rainforest deforestation rises sharply, 19 May 2011 by BBC News: "Satellite images show deforestation increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil's space research institute says."
    • "Much of the destruction has been in Mato Grosso state, the centre of soya farming in Brazil."
    • "Some environmentalists argue that rising demand for soy and cattle is prompting farmers to clear more of their land."
    • "But others see a direct link between the jump in deforestation and months of debate over easing an existing law on forest protection."
    • "'You have 300-400 lawmakers here in Brasilia sending the message that profiting from deforestation will be amnestied, that crime pays,' Marcio Astrini from Greenpeace told Reuters."[14]
  • Relax biofuel laws says World Bank as millions face food poverty, 20 April 2011 by TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk: "The World Bank is calling on Governments around the world to relax laws requiring biofuels to be mixed with conventional fuels for road transport use as global food prices remain volatile."
    • "Driven in part by higher fuel costs connected to events in the Middle East and North Africa, global food prices are 36 per cent above their levels a year ago new World Bank Group numbers released this week reveal."
    • "The bank is calling on governments to divert more crop production away from biofuel use and ease export controls to prevent even more people falling below the extreme poverty line."
    • "While not suggesting that biofuel laws should be abolished altogether, the organisation is concerned that many of the greatest food price increases link to plants commonly used as biofuel sources. Crops such as maize show a 74 per cent increase in price, while other biofuel crops such as wheat show a 69 per cent increase and soybeans show a 36 per cent increase, although rice prices have been stable."[15]
  • High Prices Sow Seeds of Erosion, 12 April 2011 by New York Times: "Long in decline, erosion is once again rearing as a threat because of an aggressive push to plant on more land, changing weather patterns and inadequate enforcement of protections, scientists and environmentalists say."
    • "Erosion can do major damage to water quality, silting streams and lakes and dumping fertilizers and pesticides into the water supply. Fertilizer runoff is responsible for a vast 'dead zone,' an oxygen-depleted region where little or no sea life can exist, in the Gulf of Mexico. And because it washes away rich topsoil, erosion can threaten crop yields. Significant gains were made in combating erosion in the 1980s and early 1990s, as the federal government began to require that farmers receiving agricultural subsidies carry out individually tailored soil conservation plans."
    • "...[G]overnment biofuels policies that have increased the demand for corn have encouraged farmers to plant more."
    • "More than anything else this year, farmers are making decisions based on how they can best take advantage of corn and soybean prices, which have soared in recent months."[16]
  • Bristol's biofuels plant must be refused planning permission, 10 February 2011 by The Guardian: "Burning biofuels in power stations is environmental vandalism on a staggering scale."
    • "The operators have two options. They could burn the cheapest available vegetable oils, which means palm and soya oil. These are also the most destructive: driving massive deforestation in both south-east Asia and the Amazon"
    • "Alternatively, the operators could burn cheaper oils, such as rapeseed. In doing so, they cause two problems. The first is to raise world food prices. The second is to create a vacuum in the world edible oils market, which is filled by … palm and soya oil."
    • "Whichever kind of vegetable oil you burn, you'll end up trashing the rainforests of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil."
    • "Somehow the government still classes burning edible oils to make electricity as green, and issues renewables obligations certificates for it – which is the only reason why it's happening."[17]
  • Two-thirds of UK biofuel fails green standard, figures show, 27 January 2011 by the Guardian: "Less than one-third of the biofuel used on UK roads meets government environmental standards intended to protect water supplies, soil quality and carbon stocks, according to new figures."
    • "The Renewable Fuels Agency says that just 31% of the biofuel supplied under the government's initiative to use fuel from plants to help tackle climate change met its green standard. For the remaining 69% of the biofuel, suppliers could not say where it came from, or could not prove it was produced in a sustainable way, the figures show."
    • "The majority of UK biofuel is imported. Biodiesel from soy was the single biggest source (31%) in 2009/10, with a large increase in Argentinian soy compared to the previous year, something that Friends of the Earth biofuels campaigner Kenneth Richter calls a 'huge cause for concern'."[18]

2010

  • Surging costs hit food security in poorer nations, 6 June 2010 by Associated Press: "With food costing up to 70 percent of family income in the poorest countries, rising prices are squeezing household budgets and threatening to worsen malnutrition....Compounding the problem in many countries: prices hardly fell from their peaks in 2008, when global food prices jumped in part due to a smaller U.S. wheat harvest and demand for crops to use in biofuels."
    • "The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's food price index — which includes grains, meat, dairy and other items in 90 countries — was up 22 percent in March from a year earlier though still below 2008 levels."
    • "Costs also have been pushed up by a rebound in global commodity prices, especially for soy destined for Asian consumption. That has prompted a shift in Argentina and elsewhere to produce more for export, which has led to local shortages of beef and other food."
    • "In Argentina, soy production has taken over more than 32 million acres (13 million hectares) of grassland once used to raise cattle and replaced less profitable wheat and corn as well, driving up prices in supermarkets."[24]
  • Does growing soy destroy Amazon rainforest?, 16 April 2010 by Environmental Research Web: "In the first seven years of this century, around 19 million hectares of rainforest in the Legal Amazon region of Brazil were cut down. But the jury's out on the chief culprit behind this deforestation – some say it's the growth in cattle ranches while others believe it's increased cultivation of crops such as soy."
    • "Cattle ranching has boomed in the Brazilian Amazon since the late 1970s when state subsidies and infrastructure development kicked in. But export crops such as soy, which is mainly used in animal feed and cooking oil, have increased significantly over the last decade, encouraged by expanding world markets and government incentives. Today Brazil is one of the world's largest exporters of agricultural products."[26]
    • Read the full report, The role of pasture and soybean in deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon

2009

  • Beef Producers in Amazon Declare Moratorium, 28 August 2009 by VOA News: "Major beef and leather producers in Brazil have agreed not to use cattle raised in recently deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest."
    • "The Brazilian government and independent third-party observers will enforce the moratorium using satellite photographs, aerial fly-overs, and site visits. The meat processors have agreed not to buy cattle from those responsible for newly deforested lands."
    • "Brazil is already using this system to monitor soybean production. The country is a major soy producer, and since 2006 a coalition representing soybean growers, processors, and civil society groups has been cooperating on a moratorium on soy from recently deforested Amazon land."[28]
  • Brazilian miner Vale signs $500M palm oil deal in the Amazon, 25 June 2009 by Mongabay.com: "Vale, the world's largest miner of iron ore, has signed a $500 million joint venture with Biopalma da Amazonia to produce 160,000 metric tons of palm oil-based biodiesel per year....Vale says the deal will save $150 million in fuel costs starting in 2014, with palm oil biodiesel replacing up to 20 percent of diesel consumption in the company's northern operations. The biodiesel will be produced from oil palm plantations in the Amazon state of Pará."
    • "environmentalists...fear palm oil production could soon become a major driver of deforestation in the region. Cultivation of oil palm is a leading cause of forest loss across Southeast Asia, but has yet to be widely planted in the Brazilian Amazon, where deforestation is mostly driven directly by conversion for cattle pasture expansion and indirectly by expansion of industrial agriculture, including soy."
  • Brazil Can Protect Amazon as Crop Output Expands, Unger Says, 15 April 2009 by Bloomberg News: "Brazil can protect its Amazon rainforest and boost agricultural output by planting crops in areas now used for low-intensity ranching, Minister of Strategic Affairs Roberto Mangabeira Unger said."
    • "Brazil, the world’s second-biggest soybean grower, yesterday renewed a ban on sales of the oilseed planted illegally in the Amazon rainforest."
    • "Brazil is also the world’s biggest beef exporter and the biggest coffee and sugar-cane grower."[31]
  • Brazil soy growers fear green backlash, plant trees, 17 March 2009 by Reuters: "Soybean farmer Clovis Cortezia has started replanting native rainforest trees on his farm to meet demands of international buyers keen to be environmentally responsible."
    • "Like other growers in Brazil's No. 1 soy-producing state Mato Grosso, Cortezia started replanting trees native to Brazil's center-west savanna in 2007".
    • "Environmental and consumer groups, particularly in Europe, have long complained that rapid expansion of Brazil's soy frontier was speeding up the deforestation of the Amazon."
    • "Cortezia's restoration program is typical of simlar efforts launched by growers to meet 'green requirements' ranging from soil conservation to proper agrochemicals use."
    • "Cortezia is part of the a program organized by the local government in a partnership with U.S. environment group The Nature Conservancy (TNC)."[32]

Countries

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Temperate feedstocks for bioenergy edit
Corn (Bioethanol) | Jojoba (biodiesel) | Prairie grasses (Bioethanol) | Rapeseed (Biodiesel) | Soy beans (Biodiesel) | Sugar beet (Bioethanol) | Sweet potato (Bioethanol) | Sweet sorghum (Bioethanol) | Switchgrass (Bioethanol) | Wheat (Bioethanol)
Biodiesel edit
Biodiesel production | Biodiesel companies
Biodiesel producers by country | Biodiesel organizations
Biodiesel feedstocks: Currently in use: soybeans | palm oil | coconut oil | rapeseed | sunflower seed | castor beans | jatropha | karanj | jojoba | waste vegetable oil | animal fat
Currently in research and development: algae | halophytes (saltwater plants)
Bioenergy feedstocks edit

Biodiesel feedstocks:
Currently in use: Animal fat | Castor beans | Coconut oil | Jatropha | Jojoba | Karanj | Palm oil | Rapeseed | Soybeans | Sunflower seed | Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO)
Currently in research and development: Algae | Halophytes (Salt-tolerant plants)


Ethanol feedstocks:
First-generation: Cassava | Corn | Milo | Nypa palm | Sorghum | Sugar beets | Sugar cane | Sugar palm |Sweet potato | Waste citrus peels | Wheat | Whey
Second-generation: For cellulosic technology - Grasses: Miscanthus, Prairie grasses, Switchgrass | Trees: Hybrid poplar, Mesquite, Willow


Charcoal feedstocks: Bamboo | Wood
Waste-to-energy (MSW)


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