Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2018 Nov;121:22-31.
doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2018.07.007.

Analysis of the Current World Biofuel Production Under a Water-Food-Energy Nexus Perspective

Free PMC article

Analysis of the Current World Biofuel Production Under a Water-Food-Energy Nexus Perspective

Emanuele Moioli et al. Adv Water Resour. .
Free PMC article


This paper assesses the sustainability of bioenergy production under a nexus perspective through a new efficiency type index. The index describes 1st generation biofuel production under the perspective of the implied consumption of natural resources. We consider the sustainability of energy production as a sequence of steps, each characterised by its efficiency, and propose an index which returns an overall efficiency value describing the adequacy or inadequacy of the considered processes under a nexus perspective. The direct application of the nexus index entails an indication of the possible improvements needed to move production towards most sustainable processes or places. Moreover, it allows evaluating the efficiency of the main crops currently used in biofuel production with respect to the water-food-energy nexus. The results depict countries presently capable of performing sustainable production of 1st generation biofuel from particular crops. Furthermore, the analysis of the single components of the nexus index allows understanding the effects of possible improvements (e.g. soil and water management, new generation biofuels) on the overall production efficiency under a nexus perspective.

Keywords: 1st generation biofuels; Bioenergy; Energy efficiency; Food–energy–water nexus.


Fig 1
Fig. 1
Water–food–energy nexus under an energy perspective.
Fig 2
Fig. 2
Maximum Nexus Index values for the considered crops.
Fig 3
Fig. 3
Nexus index for maize.
Fig 4
Fig. 4
Quantitative water efficiency for maize.
Fig 5
Fig. 5
Source water efficiency for maize.
Fig 6
Fig. 6
Food efficiency.
Fig 7
Fig. 7
Land efficiency for maize.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Allan J.A. ODA, Priorities for Water Resources Allocation and Management. ODA; London: 1993. Fortunately there are substitutes for water otherwise our hydro-political futureswould be impossible.
    1. Amineh M.P., Crijns-Graus W.H.J. Rethinking EU energy security considering past trends and future prospects. Perspect. Global Dev. Technol. 2014;13(5-6):757–825.
    1. Antonelli M., Sartori M. Unfolding the potential of the virtual water concept. What is still under debate? Env. Sci. 2015;50:240–251.
    1. Barrett C.B., Gardner B.L., Rausser G.C. 2B. Elsevier Science; Amsterdam: 2002. (Handbook of Agricultural Economics).
    1. Bazilian M. Considering the energy, water and food nexus: towards an integrated modelling approach. Energy Policy. 2011;39(12):7896–7906.

LinkOut - more resources