OECD/ITF Joint Transport Research Centre Discussion Papers

The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 52 member countries. It acts as a strategic think tank for transport policy and organizes an annual summit of ministers. Our work is underpinned by economic research, statistics collection and policy analysis, often undertaken in collaboration with many of the world's leading research figures in academia, business and government. This series of Discussion Papers is intended to disseminate the International Transport Forum’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned.

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Sustainable Biofuels for the Transport Sector

The transport sector is almost fully dependent on oil-derived products and in both the United States and in Europe this sector contributes with about one third of total energy consumption and about 30 % of the CO2 emissions. The transport sector is forecasted to contribute with 90 % of the increase in CO2 emissions projected for EU in 2010. With the increasing use of oil for transport in China, India and other Asian countries the rush for oil has resulted in increasing prices on oil and a push for production of oil substitutes. Finding alternatives is a key issue and biofuels are expected to be the easiest alternative fuel as no significant changes in the infrastructure or in established vehicles and engines are required. Biomasses play a unique role as raw materials for the production of transport fuels as outlined by US Department of Energy. It is important to understand that biofuels are not always “bio”- and in some situations large scale production will lead to a larger over-all use of fossil fuel and thereby a larger emission of carbon dioxide. Biodiesel produced from rape seed and bioethanol produced from corn might be questionable when it comes to the net energy produced. Furthermore, production of these types of biofuels will occupy land, which might be used for food production and it can further lead to loss of rainforest or deforestation in parts of the world where the new opportunities opens for new developments.


Keywords: biofuels
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