• Biofuel production gaining traction for energy transition.

Biofuel Industry News

Biofuel production gaining traction for energy transition.

Oct 19 2023

Renewable fuels are biofuels that are produced using advanced biomass such as wastes from agriculture, forestry, food processing, and non-edible crops. These are rapidly gaining popularity among refiners globally due to their potential role in the global energy transition, when compared with petroleum fuels. Hence, biofuels such as renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) are attracting investments from downstream companies around the world, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. 

GlobalData’s thematic report, “Biofuels,” provides an overview of the global biofuels industry and its potential role in the global energy transition. It benchmarks leading companies, such as Neste, Marathon Petroleum, Valero, and Phillips 66, based on their active and upcoming capacity in renewable fuels. It also evaluates the industry, technology, and regulatory trends within the biofuels industry.

Ravindra Puranik, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Biofuels can be produced from a diverse set of biomasses – a renewable energy source – through combustion or processing. Conventional biofuels, such as ethanol or biodiesel, which use edible biomass as feedstock, have been in commercial use for a long time now. However, the use of advanced feedstock for fuel production is the need of the hour as it would ease food security concerns that have aggravated globally in recent years.”

Biofuels are intended to blend with conventional fuels, and even potentially be used as transportation fuels in the long-term to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. Hence, the biofuel production process is largely similar to that of crude oil refining.

Renewable fuels are regarded as “drop-in” fuels as they can be blended with petroleum fuels in varying concentrations, or even used directly in vehicles without any major engine modifications. Their application set is quite wide ranging, including in automobiles, aviation, shipping, domestic and industrial heating, and as petrochemical feedstock.   

Puranik continues: “Several countries have introduced mandates for blending biofuels with gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel to help reduce emissions from the transportation sector. Neste, Valero, Marathon Petroleum and many others are setting up renewable diesel and SAF plants to reap from the regulatory push.” 

There is further potential for technology development in processing advanced biomass to boost renewable fuel production. 

Puranik concludes: “The biofuel industry could benefit from feedstock diversification to prevent the scarcity of any one source. Advanced biofuels address these concerns, besides tackling challenges over land availability, biodiversity loss, and price volatility due to crop failure. The scaling up of renewable refinery capacities is also essential to lower the production costs in the long-term, making these fuels competitive enough to replace petroleum fuels.”

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