Biofuels to offer 27% transportation fuel by 2050

Updated: 2011-04-21 09:09


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PARIS - The increasing utilization of biofuel can play a role as important as to provide up to 27 percent of world transportation fuel by 2050 if favorable policy and investment are in place, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report published on Wednesday.

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In the roadmap report requested by energy ministers of the Group of Eight, the Paris-based organization highlighted the importance of "biofuels - liquid and gaseous fuels derived from biomass," seeing it one of the key technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce dependency on traditional fuels as the transportation sector is growing considerably across the world, especially in emerging countries.

According to the report, without compromising food and agricultural land, global biofuel consumption will grow from 55 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) today to 750 Mtoe in 2050, meaning the global share of biofuel in total transport fuel would grow from 2 percent today to 27 percent in 2050.

Mainly used as fuel alternatives for "planes, marine vessels and other heavy transport modes," IEA expected biofuels to " eventually provide one fifth (2.1 gigatonnes of CO2) of emission reductions in the transport sector," the IEA's Director of Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology Bo Diczfalusy was quoted as saying in a press release launching the report (in Washington).

Calling government support such as long-term policy framework for biofuels, the report estimated that the expenditure on biofuels required to meet the roadmap targets will in total be between $11 trillion to $13 trillion over the next 40 years, depending on the actual production costs.

"Around 3 billion tons of biomass per year will be needed in 2050" to meet the goals set in the IEA report, which meanwhile warned against "negative impacts from biofuel expansion on food security" as biofuel production in most cases requires land usually used to produce food.

International collaborations and standardization need to be intensified, Diczfalusy said, noting biofuels demand would come largely from developed countries in the first part of the 40-year period and then shift to 70 percent consumption by China, India, Brazil and other developing countries closer to 2050.

This report was among a set of global technology roadmaps requested by a G8 meeting in June 2008 in Japan. A series of roadmaps covering 19 technologies is being developed by IEA to advance global development and promote cleaner technologies to reach a 50-percent CO2 equivalent emission reduction by 2050 over 2005 levels, according to the report.


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