Sustainable biofuels: prospects and challenges

Jan 2008

There are three main drivers, at the national, regional and global levels, for the development of bioenergy and biofuels. These are: climate change, energy security and rural development. The political motivation to support biofuels arises from one individual driver or a combination. Policies designed to target only one driver can be detrimental to another.
This study was launched in October 2006 and sets out to assess the potential scientific developments that could contribute to greater and more efficient production of biofuels for use in the transport sector. The study therefore focuses on liquid biofuels for transport, including biodiesel, bioethanol, biobutanol, biogas and synthetic biofuels, such as diesel and petrol.
Developments across the entire production chain have been considered, including feedstocks, processing as well as end use and distribution of the fuels. Although the application of biofuels for aviation and shipping are not assessed in this report, many of the developments that are outlined will also be transferable to these sectors.
The study was informed by an open call for several evidence gathering workshops and sessions. These involved representatives from the environmental and development non-governmental organisations (NGOs), industries related to biofuels, including feedstock producers, fuel producers and the end use and distribution industry.

By: The Royal Society

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