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
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
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.