Towards sustainable production and use of resources: Assessing Biofuels

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"Assessing Biofuels is based on an extensive literature study, taking into account recent major reviews, and considering a wide range of different views from eminent experts worldwide. It provides an overview of the key problems and perspectives towards sustainable production and use of biomass for energy purposes. In particular, the report examines options for more efficient and sustainable production and use of biomass. In the overall context of enhancing resource productivity, it addresses "modern biomass use" for energetic purposes, such as biomass used for (co-) generation of heat and power and liquid biofuels for transport, and relates it to the use of biomass for food and material purposes. Whereas improving the efficiency of biomass production plays a certain role towards enhancing sustainability, progress will ultimately depend on a more efficient use of biotic (and abiotic) resources (including for instance, an increased fuel economy of car fleets), although a full consideration of all relevant strategies towards this end (e.g. changing diets high in animal based foods and reducing food losses) is beyond the scope of this report.

This report mainly covers so-called first generation biofuels while considering also further lines of development. This is due to state-of-the-art and data availability until the end of 2008. Potential benefits and impacts of second and third generation biofuels - preferably referred to as "advanced biofuels" - are partially included, and might be subject to a specific report at a later stage. This report focuses on the global situation, recognising regional differences. Finally, the report marks uncertainties and highlights needs for research and development."

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
(9.2 Mb)