BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 19. Boosting biofuel production from recycling plastic, municipal and agricultural waste could hugely contribute to energy transition globally by supplying additional 20 million barrels per day of liquid biofuel by 2050, Trend reports via Wood Mackenzie, a global research and consultancy group.
“As the world transitions to new, sustainable energy sources, the somewhat neglected biofuel sector may have a crucial part to play. Currently, biofuels only account for 3 percent of today’s 100 million barrels per day liquid fuel demand,” the research said.
According to WoodMac, this additional supply could fulfill a quarter of all future demand for liquid fuels (95 million barrels per day in 2050), equivalent to about three-quarters of the average demand for distillates in 2050.
The use of waste for fuel will result in significant savings in the costs of waste incineration and associated emissions. Also, biofuels and aviation fuels derived from plant-based materials can produce 80 percent less carbon than the crude oil-based products that dominate the global market today, the report noted.
WoodMac suggests the initial conversion of waste into biofuels to be done locally, and then the fluids produced to be combined for processing at an existing refinery. Those know how to do this, and for many, this can be the key to their long-term viability. In this regard, governments could deploy incentives in order to support this process.
“Those incentives could be in the form of a ‘carbon tax credit’ that would create a level playing field with fossil fuel-based products and significantly improve the competitiveness of biofuel. Biofuels emit CO2 on combustion, but their net lifecycle emissions are far lower than fossil fuels, as carbon is removed when the vegetable feedstock is grown or waste is recycled,” the report said.
“If all falls into place for waste-based biofuels, the accelerated energy transition projections are dramatic. In Wood Mackenzie’s accelerated energy transition -1.5 scenario, the global demand for liquids would fall to only 35 million barrels per day by 2050, 60 percent lower than the base case. Biofuels could meet two-thirds of liquids demand in hard-to-decarbonize transportation sectors, as well as provide circular feedstocks for petrochemicals,” WoodMac concluded.
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