As biofuels now account for one per cent of global energy use, a report on the ‘State of the Global Biofuels Market’ released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Monday says second generation technologies, climate change concerns and economic pressures are shaping the future of the increasingly important sector.
“While alternative energy sources are growing faster than any other source, they still account for a very limited share of primary energy demand. Therefore they are not expected to replace fossil fuels but to play a complementary role in satisfying the world energy demand,” it says.
It notes that bio-ethanol and bio-diesel have become established products traded daily in all continents thanks to their use in the transport sector, especially for road vehicles.
An important development has been the emergence of alternative markets for liquid biofuels, which are now used in commercial aviation, electricity generation, cooking and even maritime transport.
The report contains policy recommendations for developing countries to make beneficial use of biofuels, and suggests creation of regulatory frameworks tailored to national resource endowments which do not antagonise food and energy supplies but rather enhance agricultural productivity, rural income and workers’ skills.