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Bioenergy terminology

Agrofuels

Agrofuels

Biofuels obtained as a product of energy crops and/or agricultural (including animal) and agro-industrial by-products.

Agricultural by-products

Agricultural by-products

Biomass by-products originating from production, harvesting and processing in farm areas.

Animal by-products

Animal by-products

Agricultural by-products originating from livestock keeping. It includes among others solid excreta of animals.

Bioenergy

Bioenergy

Bioenergy is all energy derived from biofuels.

Biofuels

Biofuels

Fuels produced directly or indirectly from biomass.  Fuel is defined as an “energy carrier intended for energy conversion”. There are three types of biofuel: woodfuels, agrofuels and biofuels from municipal waste. 

Biofuels from municipal waste

Biofuels from municipal waste

These include municipal solid waste incinerated to produce heat and/or power, and biogas from the anaerobic fermentation of both solid and liquid municipal wastes.

Biomass

Biomass

Material of biological origin excluding material embedded in geological formations and transformed to fossil. 

Woodfuels

Woodfuels

All types of biofuels originating directly or indirectly from trees, bushes and shrubs (i.e. woody biomass) grown on forest and non-forest lands.

Food security terms

Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS)

Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS)

The BEFS Approach was developed by FAO to support countries in designing and implementing sustainable bioenergy policies and strategies. The approach promotes food and energy security and contributes to agricultural and rural development.

BEFS has a set of 'guiding principles'. They are intended to provide guidance to organizations that use the outputs generated by BEFS: food security, food availability, food access, food utilization and food stability.

Bioenergy production

Bioenergy production

Bioenergy production should be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and should safeguard and, if possible, foster food security.

Food availability

Food availability

The availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports (including food aid).

Food access

Food access

Access by individuals to adequate resources (entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Entitlements are defined as the set of all commodity bundles over which a person can establish command given the legal, political, economic and social arrangements of the community in which they live (including traditional rights such as access to common resources).

Food security

Food security

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (World Food Summit, 1996). Food security comprises four components: availability, access, utilization and stability.

Food stability

Food stability

To be food secure, a population, household or individual must have access to adequate food at all times. They should not risk losing access to food as a consequence of sudden shocks (e.g. an economic or climatic crisis) or cyclical events (e.g. seasonal food insecurity). The concept of stability can therefore refer to both the availability and access dimensions of food security.

Food utilization

Food utilization

Utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met. This brings out the importance of non-food inputs in food security.

Sustainable bioenergy production

Sustainable bioenergy production

Sustainable bioenergy production should, where possible:

  • Increase or at least stabilize the global and local availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality.
  • Increase and protect access by individuals, especially among the poor and vulnerable groups, to adequate food at all times, by strengthening their resilience to both sudden shocks and cyclical events.
  • Improve or support the utilization of food, through proper cooking, adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met.


These terms have been adapted from
Unified Bioenergy Terminology – UBET  published by FAO in 2004.

More definitions can be found in the FAO Term portal.