Second generation biofuels and Gallagher

The Gallagher review has this to say on second generation biofuels

they are immature, they could produce greenhouse gas savings, but only if they’re not grown on land currently used for agriculture and that they need significant incentives and support if they are to become significant players after 2010.

In general, GHG savings from advanced technologies producing ethanol are about

90% compared to petrol whilst syndiesel can generate savings in excess of 100%

through co-generation of renewable energy (excluding emissions from land-use


These new biofuels are unlikely to see significant market penetration until 2018.

Gallagher has a good proposal when he says

A specific obligation on transport fuel suppliers to supply fuels produced from

wastes, residues and feedstock grown on marginal land will encourage investment

in these technologies and provide a mechanism to encourage production on

marginal land.

That approach to me looks better than promoting individual technologies such as lignin or pyrolysis of wood over other areas that might be more energy and carbon efficient.

The use of agricultural or forest residues as biofuel feedstock will also have an

opportunity cost since, in some instances, the GHG savings for heat and power

may be better than for biofuels. A similar issue was recently identified in the use

of tallow for biodiesel in an AEAT report43 for the Department for Transport. This

highlighted that the use of a limited feedstock, in this case tallow, for biodiesel

production can lead, indirectly, to higher emissions in another sector (in this case,

the oleochemical and meat rendering industries).

Good to see that Gallagher is looking at the alternative value of feedstock as other fuels. Later in this section he adds

The EU has suggested that by 2020 advanced fuels could make a contribution

of up to 30% towards the proposed 10% target. Given the current stage of

development of technologies this appears optimistic.

(Translation: not on your life!)

Based upon current evidence a market share of 1-2% by energy of transport fuels by 2020 seems feasible. A higher target market penetration may be possible but will require

technology to develop, and new feedstock supplies to be identified, more rapidly

than currently envisaged. Further detailed work is needed before firm targets

should be set.

 (Translation: you’ll be lucky to get over 2% by 2020 anything else will be jam)

His most important recommendations in this area are:

There should be a specific obligation on transport fuel suppliers to supply

biofuels achieving a high level of GHG saving (possibly greater than 75%) from:

- Appropriate wastes and residues;

- Feedstock grown on marginal land; and

- Other technologies and feedstocks that avoid indirect land change (for

example algae).


The EU needs to determine how increasing targets for heat, power and

renewable transport fuels compete for wastes and residues and how this

competition should be managed.

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One Response to Second generation biofuels and Gallagher

  1. b cole 17 September, 2008 at 8:16 am #

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