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.