Carbon Footprint of the Recent Bioenergy Crop Sugarcane Transition in Bolivia and Outlook to 2028
Villegas Mercado, Victor
Leal Silva, Jean Felipe
Plazas Tovar, Laura

How to Cite

Villegas Mercado V., Leal Silva J.F., Plazas Tovar L., 2024, Carbon Footprint of the Recent Bioenergy Crop Sugarcane Transition in Bolivia and Outlook to 2028, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 109, 439-444.


Bolivia's biofuel policy has made progress in replacing gasoline imports and in reducing its greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Advances in crop yield, energy use, and fertilizer/chemical use increased the operational efficiency and reduced GHG emission potential of Bolivia’s sugarcane bioenergy crop. This study examines GHG emissions resulting from sugarcane energy crop development in Bolivia. A carbon intensity inventory was compiled for 2022/2023 looking at the 2028 harvest season. Information was collected from sugarcane farmers (in the form of personal reports) and from government reports. Uncertainty and sensitivity analyses were considered during the data study. System boundaries include agricultural practice and crop harvesting. The results show that the average carbon intensity was estimated to be 21.48 kg CO2 eq/t of sugarcane produced. The top three sources of greenhouse gases were N2O emissions from fields (41 %), energy use in sugarcane cultivation (29 %), and application of nitrogen fertilizers and biomass residues (13 %). Scenario parameters for 2028 also forecast a cultivated yield of 59.3 t/ha. Carbon dioxide footprint reduction is expected to be up to 15 % (18.2 kg CO2 eq/t). Most CO2 emissions come from agricultural practices (62 %). This is the first analysis of the carbon footprint of sugarcane farming in Bolivia. Developing technologies to increase sugarcane yields while reducing nitrogen fertilizers and diesel use in agricultural activities is becoming a priority for the country to meet environmental goals.