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Biofuels for Transport: An International Perspective

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The IEA last published a book on biofuels in 1994 (Biofuels). Many developments have occurred in the past decade, though policy objectives remain similar: improving energy security and curbing greenhouse gas emissions are, perhaps more than ever, important priorities for IEA countries. And, more than ever, transportation energy use plays a central role in these issues. New approaches are needed to cost-effectively move transportation away from its persistent dependence on oil and onto a more sustainable track. But technology has made interesting progress and this will continue in the coming years, creating new opportunities for achieving these objectives.

It is not surprising that interest in biofuels – and biofuels production – has increased dramatically in this past decade. Global fuel ethanol production doubled between 1990 and 2003, and may double again by 2010. In some regions, especially Europe, biodiesel fuel use has also increased substantially in recent years. Perhaps most importantly, countries all around the world are now looking seriously at increasing production and use of biofuels, and many have put policies in place to ensure that such an increase occurs.

This book takes a global perspective in assessing how far we have come – and where we seem to be going – with biofuels use in transport. It reviews recent research and experience in a number of areas: potential biofuels impacts on petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions; current and likely future costs of biofuels; fuel compatibility with vehicles; air quality and other environmental impacts; and recent policy activity around the world. It also provides an assessment of just how much biofuels could be produced in OECD and non-OECD regions, given land requirements and availability, what the costs and benefits of this production might be, and how we can maximise those benefits over the next ten years and beyond.
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