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Advanced Biofuels Offer Significant Economic Gains

03 March 2014

EU - Expansion in the use of biofuels driven by the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) has led to concerns that this may be contributing to deforestation and land use change.

This has led to increased interest in the potential for use of non-food feedstocks for biofuel production such as crop residues and other waste streams. The European Climate Foundation and partners have investigated the potential for converting wastes from farming, forestry, industry and households to advanced low-carbon biofuels, and has published their findings.

In support of the project, NNFCC analysed the economic viability and employment opportunities that will result from the exploitation of crop, forest and waste-derived residues for advanced biofuel production.

This identified that agricultural and forest residues would require little or only a modest additional incentive to stimulate production of biofuels at a price comparable to that offered by current commercial biofuel technologies.

Refuse-derived biofuels were found to be cost competitive with current crop-derived bioethanol sources, but the issue here is complicated by the co-production of fossil ethanol from partially-renewable waste streams.

David Turley, lead consultant on biobased feedstocks at NNFCC, who led the analysis, said: “exploitation of these resources offers significant potential for increasing employment and economic returns in rural communities.”

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