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The Future of Biofuels for a Sustainable Mobility
Published: 07 November 2013 by MDPI in The 3rd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy, Practice and Education
Abstract: Biofuels production is strongly supported all over the world as a renewable energy source for reducing the dependence with respect to the unstable market of oil import. Bioethanol, the main biofuel produced in the world, is widely used for mobility in Brazil, and also in USA, but with little differences with respect to its sustainability. In Brazil it is produced from a by-product of the sugarcane industry; while, in USA it is manufactured from food crops. Biogas and biodiesel productions are growing fast but lesser than that of bioethanol. The European Union is looking at this issue with great interest and, in 2011, it adopted an extensive strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions related to transport by 60% within 2050. In order to achieve this result, a transformation of the current European transport system will be necessary. The ambitious goal will imply complex measures including the fossil fuels limitation in favor of renewable fuels. This program opens several possibilities concerning the development of biofuels (i.e. biogas, bioethanol and biodiesel) and their related technologies, which are still on trial (mainly regarding the bioethanol production) as well as object of economic and social sustainability analysis. The paper deals with the use of biofuels for transport in the European framework, showing that its sustainability could rise relevant negative social effects mainly due to the use of land for energy crops (e.g. change of food price and world food shortage).
Keywords: biofuel, sustainable mobility