In bioenergy, it is often difficult to see the wood for the trees. The many articles about truths and myths do not really help. Meanwhile, biofuels are currently produced in volumes where they start to make a real contribution to energy security.
An ethanol boom in the USA has led to the production of 16 million cubic meters, primarily based on corn. Brazil has a longer tradition and currently produces 15 million cubic meters of ethanol, using sugarcane. In Europe, Germany is leading with a 2 million m3 production of biodiesel in 2005. Production cost for bioethanol has come down to 0.15 - 0.18 euro/liter (with one liter of ethanol equivalent to 0.67 l of gasoline in terms of energy content).
Are biofuels sustainable?
Well, they are definitely not energy or CO2 neutral. The ethanol production process is energy intensive, consuming almost as much energy as it produces. Depending on the carbon emissions of energy used in production, the net CO2 effect can be a fine balance, rising a lot of debate. B