The Future of Carbon-free Energy Technologies
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Valentina Bosetti and Michela Catenacci
Chapter 5: Advanced Biofuels: Future Perspectives from an Expert Elicitation Survey
Biofuels are a viable substitution for oil-derived fuels in the transport sector. They do not require substantial changes in car engines, nor in the re-fuelling process, thus simplifying their adoption. For these reasons, biofuels are seen as one important option to mitigate CO2 emissions and reduce dependency on oil. Indeed, as transport is responsible for 23 percent of CO2 emissions (IEA, 2011a), many countries have been setting policy targets in the last decade for the introduction of biofuels (Sorda et al., 2010). With respect to Europe, in 2003 the European Commission set the goal of reaching a 5.75 percent share of renewable energy in the transport sector by 2010 (Directive 2003/30/EC), and in 2009 modified it to a minimum of 10 percent by 2020 (Directive 2009/28/EC). This notwithstanding, currently marketed (first generation) biofuels represented only around 3 percent of global road transport fuels in terms of energy in 2010 (IEA, 2011b), with great variance between countries.1 For example, in 2011, 86 percent of the production of ethanol, the most common biofuel in use, was concentrated in the USA and Brazil (74.5 billion litres) while the EU accounted for a mere 5 percent (around 4.5 billion litres) (Renewable Fuels Association, 2012).
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