Publication Detail

The Need for Biofuels as Part of a Low Carbon Energy Future

UCD-ITS-RP-15-18

Reprint

Available online at doi: 10.1002/bbb.1559

Suggested Citation:
Fulton, Lewis, Lee R. Lynd, Alex Körner, Nathanael Greene, Luke R. Tonachel (2015) The Need for Biofuels as Part of a Low Carbon Energy Future. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 2015 (DOI: 10.1002/bbb.1559)

The question of whether the world needs biofuels is approached by examining the feasibility of doing without them. Even with aggressive reductions in travel growth, shifts to mass transport modes, strong efficiency improvements, and deep market penetration by vehicles running on electricity and hydrogen, there remains a large demand for dense liquid fuels in 2050 (80% of transportation fuel) and even in 2075 (50%). This demand is due largely to aviation, ocean shipping, and long-haul trucking. Acknowledging the significant uncertainties involved in such projections and the challenges faced by all candidate technologies and fuels, we conclude that it will likely be difficult to achieve a low-carbon transport sector without widespread use of biofuels, and that aggressive efforts to develop sustainable, low-carbon biofuels alongside other options are warranted.

Keywords: biofuels; low carbon; transportation; energy futures