This paper assesses the sustainability of bioenergy production under a nexus perspective through a new efficiency type index. The index describes 1st generation biofuel production under the perspective of the implied consumption of natural resources.
We consider the sustainability of energy production as a sequence of steps, each characterised by its efficiency, and propose an index which returns an overall efficiency value describing the adequacy or inadequacy of the considered processes under a nexus perspective. The direct application of the nexus index entails an indication of the possible improvements needed to move production towards most sustainable processes or places.
Moreover, it allows evaluating the efficiency of the main crops currently used in biofuel production with respect to the water–food–energy nexus. The results depict countries presently capable of performing sustainable production of 1st generation biofuel from particular crops.
Furthermore, the analysis of the single components of the nexus index allows understanding the effects of possible improvements (e.g. soil and water management, new generation biofuels) on the overall production efficiency under a nexus perspective.