Assessing biofuels: towards sustainable production and use of resources
"Biofuels are neither a panacea nor a pariah but like all technologies they represent both opportunities and challenges."
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme
This report was produced by the Working Group on Biofuels of the International Resource Panel. It provides an overview of the key problems and perspectives toward sustainable production and use of biofuels.
It is based on an extensive literature study, taking into account recent major reviews. The focus is on so-called first generation biofuels while considering further lines of development.
In the overall context of enhancing resource productivity, options for more efficient and sustainable production and use of biomass are examined. In particular, "modern biomass use" for energetic purposes, such as biomass used for (co-)generation of heat and power and liquid biofuels for transport, are addressed and related to the use of biomass for food and material purposes.
Whereas improving the efficiency of biomass production plays a certain role towards enhancing sustainability, progress will ultimately depend on a more efficient use of biotic (and abiotic) resources (incl. for instance an increased fuel economy of car fleets), although a full consideration of all relevant strategies towards this end (e.g changing diets high in animal based foods and reducing food losses) is beyond the scope of this report.
Press release - English