Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Biofuels are renewable energy used in transportation as a substitute and/or complement to fossil fuels. The application of these types of biofuels in transport may be in pure form, that is, 100 per cent of the fuel is bio-based and/or blended where a percentage of the fuel is renewable. For example, E15 or B15 means a 15 per cent blending of ethanol or biodiesel with fossil-based fuel. The two major types of biofuels currently produced are ethanol and biodiesel. These fuels are derived from biomass or waste. The major producers of biofuel are the United States (US), Brazil, the European Union (EU), China, Canada and India. Biofuels are expected to offer these countries improved energy security, a reduction in externalities that negatively impact the environment and rural development opportunities. Further, countries, particularly developing countries, may benefit from biofuels through an opportunity to supply a number of major nations that have mandated consumption, such as the US and EU. One aspect of the production of biofuels is that it diverts productive agricultural land out of food production. As a result, food security may decline due to rising food prices, particularly for the very poor. Hence, there are potential negative externalities associated with biofuel production. A paradigm shift toward the encouragement of the development of biofuels industries took place in a number of countries before the negative externalities became apparent.
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