Field crop residue estimate and availability for biofuel production in China

Xiaoyu Wang, Lu Yang, Yosef Steinberger, Zuxin Liu, Shuhua Liao, Guanghui Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Exploitation of crop residue biomass resources will improve soil quality, future energy security, global carbon balance, and sustainable crop production. The present study was performed in order to evaluate residue quantities and distribution of field crops in the 31 provinces of China mainland with the latest residue indices, based on a province or a region. The annual average total residue in China (750.36 Mt) was composed of 660.76 Mt field residues (88.1%) and 89.60 Mt process residues (11.9%) on an air dried basis, in 2008 and 2009. Grain cereals of rice (200.56 Mt, 30.35%), wheat (145.91 Mt, 19.45%), and maize (153.85 Mt, 23.28%) were the major crops which produced 500.32 Mt field residue, accounting for 73.08% of the total field residue. The annual field residues produced in the 31 provinces varied between 1.26 Mt (Beijing) and 71.59 Mt (Henan). The field residue was distributed in regions according to the order: Northwest China (54.23 Mt, 8.21%)<North China (75.66 Mt, 11.45%)<Southwest China (80.67 Mt, 12.21%)<Northeast China (89.61 Mt, 13.56%)<Central-South China (179.11 Mt, 27.11%)<East China (181.47 Mt, 27.46%). The SCE of the total crop residue was distributed in the top three regions: Central-South China (112.04 Mt)>East China (104.36 Mt)>Northeast China (55.02 Mt). The average residue yield was between 4.14 t ha-1 and 8.65 t ha-1 and the residue density was between 17.82 t km -2 and 224.45 t km-2 in these six regions. The total residue quantity for biofuel production could potentially reach 314 Mt (42%), which is composed of the unused (196 Mt) and the directly combusted fuel (118 Mt).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-875
Number of pages12
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Chinese Universities Scientific Fund (Project No. 2012QJ131). We gratefully acknowledge Mr. Lipu Han, Mr. Lantian Ren, Mrs. Rongchun Li and Mr. Jianxi Bao for their help in data collection and calculation.


  • Biomass energy
  • Biomass resource
  • Field residue
  • Process residue
  • Residuedensity
  • Spatial distribution


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