The biofuel boom was doomed from the start 

Posted: July 17, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, opinion
Tags: ,


That’s the verdict of OilPrice.com. Climate catastrophists seem more interested in other supposed panaceas these days.
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Why haven’t biofuels taken off? For years they have been touted as the fuel of the future, with high-profile commercial aircraft making headlines for pioneering all-biofuel international flights and promising a greener future for air travel.

The first transatlantic flight powered solely by biofuel, a Gulfstream G450 owned by Honeywell International Inc., took place nearly a decade ago, in 2011, and was lauded as a harbinger of green jet fuel for all.

At that time, Honeywell Vice President Jim Rekoske told the world, “We’re ready to go to commercial scale and commercial use.”

But now, nine years later, the biofuel revolution that we were promised, both in the air and on our highways, is nowhere to be seen.

As of 2020, biofuels account for a piddling amount of the global jet fuel mix, clocking in at less than .1 percent in 2018 according to data from the International Energy Agency. Even though biofuel consumption is still rising, the acceleration is comically slow.

“In the U.S., the federal Energy Information Administration projects that the consumption of all biofuels will rise from 7.3 percent of total fuel consumption in 2019 to just 9 percent in 2040,” reports Bloomberg Green, and that’s only if oil prices fail to recover. “Even if petroleum prices skyrocket, biofuel consumption is predicted to increase to just 13.5% by 2050.”

Despite all of their promise and the flood of headlines declaring that biofuels were going to be a big part of how we get around going forward, global investors just haven’t gotten behind biofuels.

“Global investment in biofuel production capacity, meanwhile, plunged from $22.9 billion in 2007 to $500 million in 2019,” Bloomberg Green reports using data from BloombergNEF. “That has significant implications for decarbonizing transportation, which is key to keeping global average temperature rise to 1.5C to avoid catastrophic climate impacts.”

Continued here.

Comments
  1. cognog2 says:

    This was obvious from the start without recourse to looking at the figures. Photosynthesis is a slow process and the crop yield from say an acre of ground, converted to a biofuel would barely get a large aircraft off the ground let alone take it any distance. Maybe I exaggerate here; but then it takes a year to produce the yield and it will be burned in a few minutes. Put these together and you wind up with a huge area of fertile ground being required to service say a flight from London to Sydney let alone a regular service. Not even governments would be fool enough to subsidise such an activity

  2. oldbrew says:

    The future is supposed to be electric, which excludes biofuel.

  3. Kip Hansen says:

    With the US mandating 10% ethanol (a biofuel) in automobile gasoline, they have a guaranteed share of the market. Of course, ethanol is bad for many samll engines — I have to purchase extra-expensive High Octane/Ethanol-Free gasoline for all my outboard engines, chain saws, generators, and other small engine applications.

  4. JB says:

    20 years ago biodiesel blend was 120% at the pump of #2.
    No brainer for my use.

  5. gbaikie says:

    I never made moonshine, but as I understand it biofuel is waste product from the process. So instead tossing it, one could use this waste for something. But people don’t drink a lot of the hard stuff as compared to amount gasoline used.
    Also the bad booze, is sold as booze.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve used various biofuels since the 1970’s oil embargo. They were used in both World Wars and the very first FORD cars had ethanol carburetors. No technical problem stands in the way of their production and use.

    The killer is cost. Oil can be pumped for about the same cost as water and refining to fuels is very efficient. Compare a biofuel where first you need 10 times as much water to grow it, then processing is itself energy intensive and only a small portion of feed stock becomes product.

    Sure, you can do it; but the cost is over double.

    Besides, oil is a biofuel. Just one where nature has already grown the plants, collected them in one place, and cooked the oil out of them for you. North Sea Oil was a deposit of algae long long ago. So how do you compete in what is basically the same process but nature pays the growing and processing costs of making oil?

    Biofuels only exist to the extent of subsidies. Subsidies depend on a rich economy. Rich economies come from cheap abundant energy. Biofuels are neither cheap nor abundant. So the only way to afford biofuels is to run most of your economy on fossil fuels or nuclear. The only 2 cheap and abundant primary energy sources.

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