Barriers and Key Solutions

I. Barriers:

(1) Supply Barrier:

The high cost of bio mass feedstocks due to the current inadequate system of harvesting, delivery, transport does not allow processing and distributing biomass at large scales. We need shifts in the current agricultural business models and the international trade of feedstocks

Source: From 1st- to 2nd- Generation Biofuel Technologies, An Overview of  Current industry and RD& D activities, IEA Bioenergy

(2) Demand Barrier:

i. Chicken-egg problem:

Does demand help with R&D, or does R&D lower and boost demand?

ii. Uncertainty lowers demand:

International fuel specification standards for 2nd generation biofuels have not been fully developed.

(3) R&D Barrier:

i. Biomass feedstock R&D:

  •  Genetic modification to develop sustainable feedstocks of sufficient quality and physical properties can lower the cost of production.

Source: From 1st- to 2nd- Generation Biofuel Technologies, An Overview of  Current industry and RD& D activities, IEA Bioenergy

  •  Field trials are necessary to evaluate the new feedstocks.

Source: Second-Generation Biofuels: Economics and Policies#, Miguel A. Carriquiry, Xiaodong Du and Govinda R Timilsina

ii.  Biotechnology development:

This sector should focus on the efficiency of processing to gain higher biofuel yields. Despite the advantages of the 2nd generation biofuel, 2nd generation biofuels are not produced commercially yet due to high cost. The major culprit of the high cost is the conversion process. The cost of producing 2nd generation biofuels is over five times that of similar capacity starch ehhanol plants.  Anticipated improvements of biofuel conversion technologies will reduce the capital investment per liter ethanol annual capacity to between $ 0.95 and $ 1.27. There exists significant uncertainty on the expected achievements, because the figures are conditional on significant technological breakthroughs.

Source: From 1st- to 2nd Generation Biofuel Technologies, An Overview of Current Industry and RD& D Activities, IEA Bioenergy

II. Key Solutions

(1) Government Support:

The investment in the field is risky, so government intervention is essential to foster development. A comprehensive analysis is necessary for the government to avoid misunderstanding the  issue and to implement the right policies.

Source: Second-Generation Biofuels: Economics and Policies #, Miguel A. Carriquiry, Xiaodong Du and Govinda R Timilsina

Source: Sustainable Production of Second-Generation Biofuels, OECD/IEA 2010

Examples:

       China:

    In 2007, China was the largest producer of bioethanol fuels. Furthermore, the National Development and Reform Commission approved three biodiesel plants using Jatropha. The plants will be divided among Sinopec, Petro China, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Construction at near-full capacity will help China achieve 2MR/yr biodiesel by 2020 without endangering food supplies.

       US:

    Blending mandates are one way to ensure that a certain amount of biofuel is consumed against the current market situation. This offers more market certainty to the biofuel producers. The United States is the only country so far with a blending mandate for the 2nd generation biofuels. The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (IEA), decides the amount of various biofuels that have to be blended with conventional fuel between 2006 and 2022.

(Source: Sustainable Production of Second-Generation Biofuels, OECD/IEA)

     According to Figure 7, the blending of the 2nd generation biofuels (based on ligno-cellulosic feedstocks) started from 2010. The RFS plans to increase the consumption of ligno-cellulosic ethanol from 0 before 2010 to 60.6 billion liters per year in 2022.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s