News 2017-06-13

“There is more to biofuels than CO2 reduction”

Researchers from IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Luleå University of Technology, Bio4Energy and Lund University have evaluated Swedish biofuels production. The result indicates that there are many environmental and socio-economic benefits that should be taken into account when designing future biofuels instruments.

A too narrow focus on emission reductions from the use of biofuels instead of fossil fuels does not capture the full value of biofuels production for the Swedish economy. The study shows that there are additional benefits.

Biofuels make more than just replacing fossil fuels in the transport system. Among other things, the energy and the use of the by-products that come from production are important aspects; along with the socio-economic benefits that biofuel creates in terms of regional development and an innovative identity. These added values are important if you want to have an overall picture of the value of biofuels in a circular and bio-based economy, says Michael Martin at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

Some examples of this are the benefits that may arise from by-products from the grain-based ethanol production, the rot residues from biogas production, and the heat integration with the biofuels plants. Biofuels production also creates many jobs, regional development and, not least, actual emissions reductions.

If on considers these non-fuel-related benefits the Swedish biofuels production could lead to a 50 percent greater reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, compared with when only the replaced fossil fuels are taken into consideration, says Michael Martin.

A summary and the full report from the project can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact:
Michael Martin, michael.martin@ivl.se, tel. +46 10 788 65 00
Elisabeth Wetterlund, Luleå tekniska universitet, elisabeth.wetterlund@ltu.se
Philip Peck, Lunds universitet, philip.peck@iiiee.lu.se

The research project was conducted with funding from the f3 centre (Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels). The f3 is financed jointly by the centre partners, the Swedish Energy Agency and the region of Västra Götaland. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute is one of circa 20 partners in the f3 (www.f3centre.se)