Aquatic biofuels

May 2008

Currently around 2-3% of the world’s energy derives from agricultural biofuels - a figure which is predicted to increase especially with the recent rise in the cost of crude oil at US$135 (May 2008), per barrel. Already in 2007, the European Union instructed that 10% of all transport fuel consumption in the EU be sourced from biofuels by 2020 in order to help fight climate change. Biofuels produced from rapeseed (canola) oil will probably be the European Union’s preferred biofuel commodity choice. However, what impacts will that have on rapeseed and canola oil production as well as animal feedstock? A much broader question would be: what impacts will the overproduction of certain biofuel commodities have on the sustainability of that commodity, and on the environment?
Recent talks on biofuels have outlined their un-sustainability in the production phase; commodities such as corn, rapeseed, palm oil and soya are being grown and harvested in a way that could have negative economic, social and environmental effects, and have a global impact on land use, food security, water resources, deforestation and global markets.
This paper looks at alternatives to agricultural commodities for biofuel production and focusing on two ways of producing oils suitable for biofuels extracted from fish waste and algae.

By: T. Piccolo

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