Scientists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have assessed the potential for PV and bioenergy deployment on recently abandoned cropland, at a global level.
In the study Optimal combination of bioenergy and solar photovoltaic for renewable energy production on abandoned cropland, published in Renewable Energy, the research team initially identified, through the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative Land Cover (CCI-LC), around 83 million hectares of abandoned cropland between 1992 and 2015. “We identified abandoned cropland by tracking grid cells transitioning from cropland in 1992 to any non-cropland (and non-urban) class in 2015,” the academics specified. “In other words, abandoned cropland includes all grid cells that were registered as cropland in 1992 and not [as cropland] in 2015.” Cropland grid cells that were transformed into urban land were excluded from the survey.
The Norwegian group used the Global Agro-Ecological Zones 3.0 (GAEZ) modeling tool of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to identify the cropland suitable for bioenergy production and chose three types of perennial grasses, known as switchgrass, miscanthus, and reed canary grass, as the best options for the future deployment of bioenergy due to their high yields, low cost, and environmental co-benefits.
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