International comparison regarding the use of biofuels

With the exception of Brazil, biofuels are still a niche product in the big economies on both sides of the Atlantic. In Germany, a biofuel quota of currently 6.25 percent limits the use of sustainably produced biofuels. Brazil, meanwhile, is more ambitious as ethanol’s share may reach up to 25 percent. And the great number of flex fuel vehicles on Brazil’s road ensures that motorists have a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

The agricultural raw materials used for the production of biofuels are quite different in the respective countries. While sugar cane is the dominant crop for biofuels in Brazil, the US biofuel industry uses corn, above all, for the production of bioethanol. In Germany, rapeseed is the most important energy crop for sustainably produced biofuels.

It is true for all these energy crops that stocks are ample and, on a global scale, production is more than sufficient to satisfy demand for both, food and fuel needs. At the same time it has to be acknowledged for all countries analysed here: Consuming less gasoline and diesel as well using more efficient cars could greatly increase the share of biofuels in the transport sector. For an energy transition in the transport sector we need both: switching to alternative fuels and drives as well as more efficiency.

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Irmina Blachnik