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Water-Energy-Food Nexus Review for Biofuels Assessment

1The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand

2Center of Excellence on Energy Technology and Environment, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Bangkok, Thailand

3Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chiangmai University, Thailand

4 Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand

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Received: 1 Sep 2021; Revised: 24 Oct 2021; Accepted: 2 Nov 2021; Available online: 18 Nov 2021; Published: 1 Feb 2022.
Editor(s): Grigorios Kyriakopoulos
Open Access Copyright (c) 2022 The Authors. Published by Centre of Biomass and Renewable Energy (CBIORE)
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Abstract

The appropriate use of limited natural resources for generating basic human needs such as energy, food, and water, is essential to help the society function efficiently. Hence, a new approach called nexus is being considered to resolve the effects of intrinsic trade-offs between the essential needs. A review of different methods and frameworks of the water-energy-food nexus was done in this article to give a detailed repository of information on existing approaches and advocate the development of a more holistic quantitative nexus method. Assessing biofuels under the water-energy-food nexus perspective, this review addresses the sustainability of bioenergy production. The results show the countries that can sustainably produce first-generation biofuels. Only a few methods have varied interdisciplinary procedures to analyse the nexus, and more analytical software and data on resource availability/use are needed to address trade-offs between these interacting resource sectors constituting the nexus. Also, “land” is suggested as an additional sector to consider in future studies using both the nexus index and life cycle assessment methodology. The review reveals that to tackle composite challenges related to resource management, cross-disciplinary methods are essential to integrate environmental, socio-political facets of water, energy, and food; employ collaborative frameworks; and seek the engagement of decision-makers.

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Keywords: Food; Biofuel; Bioenergy; Water; Policy; Framework

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