Global biofuel use may double by 2015

By Craig A. Johnson
Posted Sept. 30, 2009, at 5:1;3 p.m. CST

Global biofuel use may double by 2015. That's the finding from a new study produced by Hart's Global Biofuels Center, a division of Hart Energy Publishing LP, one of the world's largest energy industry publishers.

The report, "Global Ethanol and Biodiesel Outlook 2009 to 2015," predicts the U.S. will lead this growth, increasing biofuels consumption by more than 35 percent over the six-year term. Brazil is expected to increase domestic supplies of biofuel by more than 30 percent, and double their current export levels.

Second-generation biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, are not a major contributor to the increase in overall biofuel capacity and use, according to a company release. "Despite major public policy interest in next-generation biofuels, actual commercial growth in the production and use of these fuels between 2009 and 2015 is projected to remain behind expectations."

The study does find that advanced biofuels will play a prominent role in the future of the renewable energy industry in the long term. "Be it cellulosic ethanol, renewable diesel, biomass-to-liquids or Fischer Tropsch liquids made from feedstocks such as agricultural or municipal solid wastes, grasses, woods, waste paper and algae, next-generation biofuels are still largely under research & development," said Tammy Klein, executive director of the Global Biofuels Center and the study leader.

Other key findings include:

• Global ethanol demand will represent 12 percent to 14 percent of the global gasoline pool by 2015;

• Asia-Pacific ethanol production will grow tremendously in the coming years and could represent as much as 20 percent of global ethanol production by 2015;

• If India's own projections were realized, it could outpace Brazil in ethanol production and exporting by 2015. Nonetheless, despite India's ethanol production expansion Hart projects that Brazil will remain the leading global biofuels exporter.

In addition, the study finds that key advanced biofuel targets are unlikely to be reached in the near term " … mandates set that require next-generation biofuels will not be met, particularly in the U.S. Currently, sugarcane ethanol from Brazil is the only commercially available, economical, low-carbon biofuel available on the market currently to meet U.S. RFS2 (renewable fuels standard) advanced biofuel and other low-carbon fuel requirements."

More information on the study findings, methodology and geographical coverage is available at