This project was launched in June 2009 by a consortium of European, African and Central American academic institutions. The BIA project investigates the opportunities and risks related to the production and utilisation of biofuels in East Africa and in Central America. The main objective of the BIA project is to develop an enhanced information and knowledge basis upon which sustainable and pro-poor development strategies and policies on biofuel production can be designed and implemented by development partners and governments in both the North and the South.A focus on Jatropha Curcas was chosen, as this feedstock is considered to have high potentials in marginal areas,and because a strong increase of its production is expected in East Africa. The project intends to assess opportunities and risks of increased Jatropha production, to appraise its social and environmental impacts, and to develop decision support tools for sustainable bioenergy production in East Africa. In order to achieve these goals, four complementary modules are implemented by the project partner institutions (see also "modules" for more details and current outputs"):
Module 1 - Crop growth and processing: Assessment of sustainable bioenergy production potentials and processing of Jatropha biomass in different production systems and under different environmental and cultural settings
Module 2 - Impacts of biofuel production: Case-study based research on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of biofuel production in the local context as well as life cycle assessments of various Jatropha value chains
Module 3 - Global policy, trade and certification: Analysis of the influence of external socio-political and economic decision-making processes on the regional and local biofuel production processes in Eastern Africa and Central America
Module 4 - Potentials of biofuel in Eastern Africa: Up-scaling of finding from the three other modules in view of providing relevant decision-making and planning tools at the national and regional levels in Eastern Africa. Strong focus on spatial analysis and modelling.
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