Biofuels 2010: spotting the next wave - Executive summary

Dec 2009

One response to the threat of climate change would be to regulate the use of carbon fossil fuels with an externality tax or some other policy measure. Taxing fossil fuels would drive up the price of petroleum products, making alternative fuels more economically attractive. Yet, can alternative fuels compete without policy initiatives?
This report is an inquiry into the role of biofuels as a legitimate substitute to displace the primacy of petroleum transportation fuels. The research was guided by the following questions:

  • What are the different types of biofuels and to which of them should more attention be paid?
  • Will biofuels ever be price-competitive with fossil fuels without subsidies? If so, when?
  • When, if ever, will biofuels displace significant volumes of liquid petroleum products?
The findings of this report are the results of a comprehensive research project, as well as a series of fact-finding interviews of scientists, policymakers, academics, and more than 40 first-, second-, and third-generation biofuel companies. As a result of this extensive research and analysis undertaking, this report provides insights and information on the following biofuel subject areas:
  • Regional and global market dynamics
  • Established and experimental technology pathways
  • Recent and future biofuel policies and their market implications
  • The strengths and weaknesses of feedstock choices
  • The economics of each generation of biofuel
  • Profiles of 40 of the most interesting global biofuel companies

By: J. Kagan, T. Bradford (The Prometheus Institute)

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