Satellite data for biofuel monitoring


Satellite data for biofuel monitoring

During 2010, a Biofuel Directive was decided by the European Commission (EC). It regulates the import of biofuel to the EU market and establishes a need to monitor land use changes in connection with biofuel production. Of special interest is land use before the regulation, January 1, 2008, and to follow the development and expansion of plantations since then. The biofuel plantations are valuable for the national producers, but there is a need to ensure a sustainable use of the plantations and its surroundings according to the Biofuel Directive. Apart from the Directive, it is also possible to certify the production of biofuel. In this case, additional aspects need to be monitored and the starting date for review is January 1, 2009. There are seven certification standards accredited by the EC. Of these, RSB EU RED (Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels) is a system for all types of biofuels globally and used by DNV.
The project idea is to support biofuel companies to comply with the EC Biofuel Directive and for biofuel certification. This could be accomplished by using multi-temporal satellite data to monitor biofuel plantations. By using remote sensing it would be possible to use historical satellite data to map the land use before and after 2008/2009, but also to use recent data to monitor the progress and changes according to the directive and RSB standards.
The mapping will be done using multi-temporal satellite data from various satellite archives (preferably low cost data). Mainly high resolution data with a spatial resolution of 10-30 metres will be used, see Figure 1. The registration dates are important and will be optimized according to the critical dates that are stated both in the legislation and in the RSB criteria.


Example of the expansion of sugarcane and land use change in Sao Paulo State (Brazil) using satellite data. 

Figure 1. Example of the expansion of sugarcane and land use change in Sao Paulo State (Brazil) using satellite data. The red arrows show forested land transferred to sugarcane. The yellow arrows show annual crop land transferred to sugarcane.

The project goals are:

• Review of user requirements
• Demonstration of biofuel monitoring
• User validation of results
• Operational cost/benefit scenario

More information:

Camilla Jönsson, Metria Geoanalys, 010-121 85 11,
Elisabet Bröms Sterner, DNV, 08-587 941 49, 

Senast uppdaterad: 5 januari 2012