Spatially optimizing the distribution of sustainable sugarcane production in Goiás, Brazil, based on GHG-emissions and costs
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The production of bioethanol from sugarcane in Brazil has increased steadily over the last decade, and the surface area used to grow sugarcane has expanded. The aim of this study is to find the optimal spatial configuration of new sugarcane fields in Goías, Brazil, created between 2005 and 2010, optimizing for both costs and GHG-emissions, keeping the ethanol production equal to the demand in 2010. The analysis is performed by modelling both the costs and GHG-emissions in a spatially explicit way, based on both spatial and non-spatial variables. The spatial variables that are inputs for the costs are cultivation and transportation and for the GHG-emissions these are land use change and transportation. The optimal location is determined by applying a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) while applying different weight factors. It has to be taken into account that there is a large uncertainty in the data and land availability and the research has to be improved by taking into account the capacity of the mills and making newly constructed mills a spatial variable before the actual optimal configuration of sugarcane fields can be determined. Results show that when optimizing only for GHG-emissions, the GHG-emissions can be reduced with 58% compared to the actual configuration of sugarcane fields in 2010, yet, the costs increase with 45%. When optimizing only costs, the costs can be reduced with US$5,-/GJethanol compared with the actual configuration in 2010, and the GHG-emissions are still almost 10% lower than for the actual sugarcane fields in 2010. When distributing the weight factors equally over costs and GHG-emissions in the MCA, the costs are equal to when optimizing only costs, while decreasing the GHG-emissions with 23%, mainly by avoiding sugarcane cultivation on forest land. It can be concluded that optimizing the location of sugarcane fields can decrease both costs and GHG-emissions. Finally, it can be concluded that the results of this study can aid in the finding a suitable location of sugarcane fields for ethanol production.