Study: Biofuels reduce GHGs by 123.5 M tonnes

December 09, 2009
Written by
Dec. 9, 2009, Toronto – Just in time for the critical climate talks now underway in Copenhagen, new data once again confirms significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from global biofuels production.

Prepared by (S&T)2 Consultants Inc., an internationally recognized energy and environmental consulting firm, the report demonstrates that world biofuels production in 2009 has reduced global GHG emissions by 123.5 million tonnes representing an average reduction of 57 per cent compared to the emissions that would have occurred from the production and use of equal quantities of petroleum fuels.

“This landmark report proves yet again that biofuels production and use is already playing a vital, yet too often overlooked, role in reducing harmful GHG emissions around the globe,” said Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) spokesperson Bliss Baker.

“In light of the ongoing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, today’s report is evidence that biofuels are and must continue to be on the front line of the Climate Change fight,” declared Baker.

Of note, the report found:

• World biofuel production has surpassed 100 billion litres of annual production in 2009. After accounting for energy contents, this is displacing 1.15 million barrels of crude oil per day, which creates approximately 215 million tonnes of GHG emissions annually.

• In 2009, world ethanol production of 73.7 billion litres is estimated to reduce GHG emissions by 87.6 million tonnes – approximately the same as the total GHG emissions reported for Austria in 2007.

• With respect to biodiesel, forecast global production of 16.4 billion litres will reduce GHG emissions by 35.9 million tonnes – greater than the GHG emissions reported for Croatia in 2007.

• The combined GHG emissions reduction from global ethanol and biodiesel production of 123.5 million tonnes represents an average reduction of 57 per cent compared to the emissions that would have occurred from the production and use of equal quantities of petroleum fuels. This is equal to the national GHG emissions of Belguim or Greece, or the combined emissions of Monaco, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and Croatia.

The study utilized a “life cycle assessment” (LCA) approach to estimate global GHG emissions reduction achieved through the production and use of biofuels from “cradle-to-grave”, including the acquisition of raw materials, manufacture, transport, use, maintenance and final disposal.

The full study, entitled GHG Emission Reductions from World Biofuel Production and Use, can be downloaded at www.globalrfa.org. Production data was compiled by FO Lichts. The report was commissioned by the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance.

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting biofuels friendly policies internationally. Alliance members represent over 65 per cent of the global biofuels production from 44 countries. Through the development of new technologies and best practices, the Alliance members are committed to producing renewable fuels with the smallest possible footprint.

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