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Status and outlook for biofuels


Status and outlook for biofuels, other alternative fuels and new vehicles

The report presents an outlook for alternative motor fuels and new vehicles. The time period covered extends up to 2030. The International Energy Agency and the U.S. Energy Information Administration predict that the world energy demand will increase by over 50% from now to 2030, if policies remain unchanged. Most of the growth in demand for energy in general, as well as for transport fuels, will take place in non-OECD countries. Gasoline and diesel are projected to remain the dominant automotive fuels until 2030. Vehicle technology and high quality fuels will eventually solve the problem of harmful exhaust emissions. However, the problem with CO2 still remains, and much attention will be given to increase efficiency. Hybrid technology is one option to reduce fuel consumption. Diesel engines are fuel efficient, but have high emissions compared with advanced gasoline engines. New combustion systems combining the best qualities of gasoline and diesel engines promise low emissions as well as high efficiency.

The scenarios for alternative fuels vary a lot. By 2030, alternative fuels could represent a 10–-30% share of transport fuels, depending on policies. Ambitious goals for biofuels in transport have been set. As advanced biofuels are still in their infancy, it seems probable that traditional biofuels will also be used in 2030. Ethanol is the fastest growing biofuel. Currently the sustainability of biofuels is discussed extensively. Synthetic fuels promise excellent end-use properties, reduced emissions, and if produced from biomass, also reduced CO2 emissions. The report presents an analysis of technology options to meet the requirements for energy security, reduced CO2 emissions, reduced local emissions as well as sustainability in general in the long run. In the short term, energy savings will be the main measure for CO2 reductions in transport, fuel switches will have a secondary role.