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Microalgal and Terrestrial Transport Biofuels to Displace Fossil Fuels

Author(s): Lucas Reijnders

Journal: Energies
ISSN 1996-1073

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 48;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Transport biofuel | terrestrial plants | microalgae | fossil fuels

Terrestrial transport biofuels differ in their ability to replace fossil fuels. When both the conversion of solar energy into biomass and the life cycle inputs of fossil fuels are considered, ethanol from sugarcane and biodiesel from palm oil do relatively well, if compared with ethanol from corn, sugar beet or wheat and biodiesel from rapeseed. When terrestrial biofuels are to replace mineral oil-derived transport fuels, large areas of good agricultural land are needed: about 5x108 ha in the case of biofuels from sugarcane or oil palm, and at least 1.8-3.6x109 ha in the case of ethanol from wheat, corn or sugar beet, as produced in industrialized countries. Biofuels from microalgae which are commercially produced with current technologies do not appear to outperform terrestrial plants such as sugarcane in their ability to displace fossil fuels. Whether they will able to do so on a commercial scale in the future, is uncertain.

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