Global Biofuels Market to Double to $185.3 Billion by 2021 – report

Global Biofuels Market to Double to $185.3 Billion by 2021 – report | 17/11/2013
by Silvio Marcacci

A new report from Pike Research predicts the global biofuels market will double over the next decade, from $82.7 billion in 2011 to $185.3 billion in 2021

Even with this rapid growth, however, significant hurdles remain and could prevent the industry from meeting government mandates.

The new report, Biofuels Markets and Technologies, estimates steady growth though 2016 but rapid production increases between 2017 and 2021 as a result of higher oil prices, emerging mandates, new feedstock availability, and advanced technologies.

Total global biofuel production is projected to reach 65.7 billion gallons per year (BGPY) by 2021, and ethanol is expected to maintain its dominance over the industry, with nearly 50 BGPY compared to biodiesel’s 16.2 BGPY.

Several key markets are driving industry growth. Blending mandates now exist in at least 38 countries and 29 states or provinces around the world.

The United States, Brazil, and European Union are the three largest markets, and represented 85 percent of global production in 2010. North America led the world in biofuel production with 48 percent of the global market, while the EU accounted for 49 percent of global biodiesel production.


Even with this rapid growth, the industry still may not meet total market needs by 2021. Production volumes are expected to fall short of the estimated 71.8 BGPY biofuels market demand because of a lack of access to inexpensive feedstocks and difficulty obtaining financing.

This failure to meet demand may be more of a reflection on the immense global transportation fuel market than the validity of biofuel technology.

Pike Research estimates that by 2021 the global gasoline market will reach 375 BGPY, the global diesel ground transportation market will hit 427 BGPY, and aviation and marine fuel demand could add 200 BGPY to the global market.

Even if the biofuels industry does double current production levels, which hit 29.4 BGPY in 2011, they would still only represent seven percent of the total transportation fuel market.


The technological maturation of 1st generation biofuel sources (such as corn, sugarcane, rapeseed and soy), combined with a 2nd generation of fuel sources could increase production estimates even further.

“The emergence of advanced conversion pathways and non-food feedstocks could unlock considerable production potential throughout the world,” says the report.

According to Pike, the combination of maturing investments, growing demand, and industry consolidation mean a bullish future for biofuels.

“Given the scale of development to date and the crystallization of interests… widespread biofuels commercialization is no longer a question of if, but when.”

Source: Green Car Congress

This article, Report: Global Biofuels Market Could Double To $185.3 Billion By 2021, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Silvio Marcacci Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate-focused public relations company based in Washington, D.C.

Ethanol Answers the EPA’s Low-Sulfur Gasoline Regulations

Ethanol Answers the EPA’s Low-Sulfur Gasoline Regulations | 04/05/2013
by John Brian Shannon John Brian Shannon

The EPA’s proposed Tier 3 rule would cut sulfur levels in American gasoline by two-thirds, and by 2018 the new standard could be fully implemented.

According to the EPA, introducing and enforcing the new regulations would cost $3.4 billion between now and 2018, but Americans would save $23 billion in health care and environmental costs — amounting to a net savings of $19.6 billion dollars over that time.
Midwest Renewable Energy generates fuel-grade ethanol via natural fermentation and distillation of corn, primarily for blending with gasoline and other fuels. Image courtesy of: Midwest Renewable Energy, LLC

EPA is proposing the Tier 3 standards to address public health issues that currently exist and are projected to continue in the future as requested in a May 21, 2010 Presidential memorandum.

[From Section 2.1]

“Over 158 million Americans are currently experiencing unhealthy levels of air pollution which are linked with adverse health impacts such as hospital admissions, emergency room visits, and premature mortality. Motor vehicles are a particularly important source of exposure to air pollution, especially in urban areas.”

[From Section 2.4]

“EPA is also proposing that federal gasoline contain no more than 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur on an annual average basis by January 1, 2017.

In addition, EPA is proposing to either maintain the current 80-ppm refinery gate and 95-ppm downstream caps or lower them to 50 and 65 ppm, respectively.

The proposed Tier 3 gasoline sulfur standards are similar to levels already being achieved in California, Europe, Japan, South Korea, and several other countries.” – U.S. EPA 

Longer longer life-expectancy for citizens, a better quality-of-life and lower acid rain levels will result from this new regulation standard — benefiting many Americans while lessening the damage caused by acid rain to national infrastructure.

Acid rain translates into crop damage, forest ecosystem damage like ‘crowning’ on trees and ‘spalling’ on concrete structures (especially historic concrete structures like the Brooklyn Bridge, for one example) which are caused solely by acid rain — whether from anthropogenic (man-made) sources, or from volcanoes and forest fires.

Read here about anthropogenic acid rain damage to the bronze statues at Harvard University.
Image courtey:

Simply increasing the percentage of ethanol in gasoline will allow oil companies to meet the new regulations

All new cars and light trucks sold in the U.S.A. from 1990 onwards are able to run up to 85% ethanol with no harm to the engine or other components.

The EPA refers to the proposed new regulations as “common-sense standards” that will save American lives and money

The oil and gas industry are attempting to influence public opinion by saying they must now invest $10 billion in new infrastructure, (one-time cost) and spend $2.4 billion per year to cover the increased operating costs to implement the standards — resulting in an increased price at the pump of 9 cents per gallon.

Others such as the U.S. auto industry are concerned with the proposal, saying European-style gasoline prices could be the end result. – (newsletter)

Instead of spending billions on unproven and expensive technology to solve this problem, simply blending-in a larger percentage of bio-ethanol neatly solves the problem of sulfur content in gasoline. And as ethanol and bio-ethanol are already part of the petroleum feedstock, no other alterations are required to increase the percentage of ethanol in gasoline.

A happy coincidence related to this problem and its implementation timeline is that new bio-ethanol supply streams are already available.

In addition to the successful algae and camelina bio-fuel projects which the EIA, the U.S. Navy, Boeing, and Virgin Atlantic have all reported excellent results with — these organizations are now developing large scale biofuel supplies to fuel their fleets.

Boeing’s (SBRTP) Sustainable Biofuels Research & Technology Program reported up to 80% lower CO2 emissions when compared to petroleum-sourced jet fuel.” – Huffington Post

A second-generation bio-fuel, switchgrass — along with other crops which grow well in poor soils and are tolerant of drought conditions are becoming available to farmers who are able to grow this bio-fuel crop on marginal land and with little water usage.

Switchgrass (a tall, native, coarse grass of the American prairie) is being cultivated in the U.S. for bio-ethanol production at experimental facilities and new enzymes and harvesting techniques are showing good results.

Regarding 3rd generation biofuels, ethanol from algae shows record-smashing potential

Algae can produce up to 300 times more oil per unit area than conventional [biofuel] crops such as rapeseed, palms, soybeans, or jatropha.

As algae have a harvesting cycle of 1–10 days, their cultivation permits several harvests in a very short time-frame, a strategy differing from that associated with yearly crops (Chisti 2007).

Algae can grow on land unsuitable for other established crops, for instance: arid land, land with excessively saline soil, and drought-stricken land.

This minimizes the issue of taking away pieces of land from the cultivation of food crops (Schenk et al. 2008). Algae can grow 20 to 30 times faster than food crops. – Wikipedia

Simply stated, the solution to lower sulfur content in gasoline is to increase bio-ethanol production. Farmers have plenty of marginal lands and will be quite happy to hear about the proposed EPA regulations

It can become a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone if we move towards the obvious policies that take us into conformance with the EPA’s proposed new regulations.