Interest in alternative fuels has been rekindled by the ongoing volatility in oil supplies. As oil prices continue to soar and supplies become depletedbiofuels are looking more appealing as an alternative transport fuel.
Biofuels offer Europe the prospect of becoming energy self sufficientwhile also offering a source of cleaner and more sustainable fuel.
Legislative initiatives seeking to promote environment friendly fuel alternatives with lower emission levels are further supporting the uptake of biofuelswith the European biofuels market projected to generate E1.88 billion in 2005.
“Biofuels are likely to play an increasingly important role in the transport fuels mix as governments try to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Robert Outram. “EU Directives have been introduced that require countries to include a specified per cent of biofuels in fossil fuels by 2010.”
As part of the Kyoto Protocolthe European Union acquiesced to reduce CO2 emissions by eight per cent by the end of 2012. The life cycle analysis (LCA) approach to the overall atmospheric CO2 contribution of a fuel suggests that biofuelsboth biodiesel and bioethanolproduce about 50 per cent less CO2 than mineral diesel.
Based on their low emission ratesthe European Commission is supporting the development of the biofuels market as an important contribution to meeting their overall emission targets. Directives 2003/30/EC and 2003/96/EC aim specifically to encourage the increased use of biofuels and set indicative targets for their use in the transport industry. In addition to such strong legislative backingthe multiple benefits offered by biofuels bode well for market expansion. For instancebiodieselbioethanol and Bio-ETBE (ethyl tertiary butyl ether) can all be handled and distributed from the refinery using existing network systems and standard fuel pump equipment.
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