Why use large amounts of energy as it can with less? Biomass already naturally contains valuable components which are formed by the incorporation of large amounts of energy (the sun).

Biofuels are not new, the first cars drove on bioethanol and biodiesel. Today, the production of transport fuels from renewable raw materials again in the spotlight. Due to the growing European market for biofuels and stringent sustainability requirements increasing interest from industry for the use of alternative technologies and new production routes.

Biodiesel to replace the current diesel has a vegetable or animal basis. Fuels produced from non-food crops such as straw and wood is the renewable alternative for the future. Bioethanol is currently the main substitute for petrol, and is produced on a large scale. Almost the entire current bioethanol production is based on sugar and starch crops. These raw materials are relatively expensive and the growing demand for bioethanol is accompanied by a demand for cheaper raw materials and raw materials that do not compete with food production. DSM has built with its American counterpart POET one of the first commercial second-generation bioethanol plants, where corn waste is used.

Compact energy

Biofuels have, like fossil fuels, the advantage of being very compact energy. This makes it very suitable for long distance and heavy transport (trucks, aviation and shipping). In particular, the aviation sector currently has no other renewable energy at its disposal. Also, hybrid cars called sustainable biofuels as a smart alternative.

Biogas as transport fuel

Biogas is gaining ground as a transport fuel (in the form of bio-CNG and bio-LNG (Compressed or Liquefied Natural Gas)) and can be produced from relatively wet residues from agriculture and animal husbandry. Furthermore, the focus is on the use of alternative non-food crops (eg, algae, seaweed, Jatropha) for renewable biofuel production.

From generation to advanced biofuels

Biofuels therefore there are in different species. Most biofuels are made from plant material, such as palm oil, rapeseed, sugar cane and corn. This is often referred to as the ‘first generation’ biofuels. The first generation biofuel is extracted from crops which are also suitable for food. The second generation biofuels are made from waste materials, such as corn residues or plants which are not suitable for food, for example wood chips. There is also a third generation biofuel development; based on algae and seaweed, this is less competition with land use. The fourth generation of producing microorganisms themselves fuel or chemicals Photanol in Amsterdam is a good example. Because so many generations apart is not easy nowadays used the terms “conventional” (first) or “advanced” (2nd or higher) when it comes to biofuels.