Biofuels research gap analysis
Biofuels are transport fuels made from renewable biological resources, such as plants or waste matter. Replacing fossil fuel with biofuels has the potential to deliver approximately 338 to 371 million tonnes of global CO2 savings per year(1) . However, scientists have highlighted uncertainties in the evidence on biofuels, with some research showing that biofuels could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions if produced in the wrong way and from non-sustainable sources.
The Renewable Energy Directive sets ambitious targets for renewable energy including a target for each Member State to deliver a 10% (2) share of its energy in transport from renewable sources by 2020, a significant share of which is expected to be met through the use of biofuels. As an initial step in order to reduce the uncertainties in the evidence around biofuels, the UK Government commissioned a clear analysis of the existing gaps in research that need to be addressed going forward.
The AEA scoping study has been important in highlighting a number of gaps in the evidence base for the promotion and deployment of sustainable biofuels, and will help the UK Government to develop a strategic approach to biofuel research and development. Its findings have prompted the Department for Transport to take forward research in a number of areas, including improving our understanding of sustainability concerns associated with the production of biofuels and identifying any capability barriers to their deployment. Further updates on the individual projects will become available on the departments website.
(1) The Gallagher Review of the indirect effects of biofuels production. Renewable Fuels Agency, July 2008.
(2) The feasibility of reaching the 10% transport target whilst ensuring sustainability will be subject to review by the European Commission by the end of 2014.
This study has identified a number of research gaps for the promotion and deployment of sustainable biofuels.
- 22 October 2009
Published : October 2009
AND http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/environment/research/biofuelsresearch/researchdocument.pdf (400 page report)