The Biofuels International and Bioenergy Insight Conference took place last week to discuss the future, advancements and uncertainty following the biofuel industry. Rob Wakely, head of the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport, started the conference off.
Wakely discussed his country’s new legal requirement for fuel suppliers that require a specified percentage of renewable fuels to be supplied. The UK has a current requirement of less than 5% of fuels supplied being renewable.
“Bio Ethanol Fuel is derived from corn therefore making it a sustainable energy source. The only residual emissions when burning bio ethanol are carbon dioxide and water steam,” states Wall Fireplace Pros, a company that offers fireplaces fueled by bio ethanol.
Wakely discussed the UK’s Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation (RFTO) in detail. Wakely states that the UK will use crop-based biofuels to meet the country’s renewable fuel obligations. Maximums on biofuels will be capped at 4% in 2018 and be reduced over time to 3% in 2026 and 2% in 2032.
He suggested that biofuels, such as bio ethanol, offer more than 95% carbon savings and will help alleviate high emissions from trucks and planes.
Andrew Murfin, general manager for advanced biofuels at Shell, explained to the crowd how the company is able to produce 2.2 billion litres of low-ethanol fuels per year. The company is a low-CO2 biofuel producer that works alongside Raizen in a joint venture.
Scotland’s Chris Stark, director of energy and climate change, also spoke at the conference. Stark discussed the country’s plans to use bioenergy, storage and carbon capture in the country’s final climate plan.
Sustainability was a major topic of discussion in the industry as countries begin to shift their fuel consumption to renewables. Green Investment Group’s head of waste and bioenergy, Chris Holmes, addressed the rising backlash against woody biomass. Lobbying groups have attached the industry stating that the rise in pellet demand has led to higher rates of deforestation.
The wood pellet market has grown at a rate of nearly 10% per year between 2012 and 2016. The industry’s demand rose from 19.5 million tons to 28.6 million tons during this four-year span.
Holmes states that the biomass industry will need to remain fully transparent to help consumers and lobbyists understand the sourcing of the wood. Reports published by Chatham House raised concerns that wood pellets may have higher carbon emissions than previously thought.
Bio Ethanol’s market has a $48.7 billion cap, with expectations to grow at a CAGR of 6.4%. The industry is expected to grow to $75.5 billion by 2023. Increasing demand for renewable energy sources are the key driver behind the industry’s projected growth.
Environmental concerns, volatile oil prices and government regulations are expected to push the industry’s demand high in the next six-year period.
The industry will be vulnerable to oxygenates and the rise of electric vehicles which do not use traditional fuels to operate.
Bio ethanol is the world’s most utilized biofuel due to the fuel’s contribution to the reduction of crude oil. Bio ethanol also benefits from being versatile. The fuel can be created using corn, starch and cellulose.
North America is the leading bio ethanol market.