According to a 2012 Bloomberg Finance study, by 2030, it is estimated that 351 billion liters of advanced biofuels, resulting from 914 million tons of agriculture residues, will be able to replace more than half of the gasoline consumption in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, EU-27, India, Mexico, and the United States combined. This transition is expected to create an excess of eight million jobs across collection, operations, transportation, and construction activities.
Renewable Diesel & Jet
Renewable diesel and jet fuel production has increased in recent years as a result of successful commercial scale operations of innovative technologies. Historically, tallow and other animal fats has been the dominant feedstock for this type of fuel, but today waste and various, non-food plant oils are growing in popularity. The demand to produce environmentally friendly, renewable fuels with comparable or superior qualities to traditional petroleum fuels will drive the wide scale deployment of these fuels.
Corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol in the United States. After fuel is created using cornstarch, the residual fiber, protein, vegetable oil and minerals are used as distiller grains to feed livestock. These account for one third of total corn grain weight.
Like ethanol, biodiesel production has increased rapidly in recent years. Historically, soybean oil has been the dominant feedstock for this type of fuel, but today animal fats and waste oils are growing in popularity. Waste oils are generally a less costly feedstock than vegetable oils, however, they contain high levels of saturated fatty acids that results in a lower flow quality than vegetable oil.
In the future, other alternative biofuels will be produced from cellulosic biomass, a renewable resource that, unlike fossil fuels, will not run out. It can be grown in nearly every state, so it does not have to be imported from other countries. These include crop residues (e.g., corn cobs, stalks), forestry residues (e.g., forest thinning, wood byproducts), energy crops (e.g., switchgrass, miscanthus), sorted municipal wastes, and algae. Ethanol produced from cellulose in non-food sources is called “cellulosic ethanol.” Other types of biofuels that can be made from cellulose include renewable gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.
Secondary Cropland Residues and Waste Resources
A largely unused supply of cellulosic feedstocks for biofuels is categorized as secondary cropland residues and waste resources. These supplies are either the result of crop harvesting and processing or recovered from final consumption. The availability and feasibility of collecting these supplies for biofuels is a function of current use, regional supply, and storage and handling costs. The feedstocks themselves are varied in their quality and availability and may be considered economically feasible and environmentally beneficial with appropriate incentives, logistics, and processing and refining technology.
Animal fats suitable as secondary cropland feedstocks in biodiesel production include edible and inedible tallow, lard, white grease, poultry fat, and yellow grease. Animal fats are a less costly feedstock than vegetable oils; however, animal fats contain high levels of saturated fatty acids, which result in a lesser flow quality than vegetable oil. Because biodiesel from animal fat feedstock has the tendency to solidify in colder temperatures, vegetable oil will likely be the feedstock of choice in northern U.S. states. The supply of animal fats is limited and will not increase as demand for biodiesel increases.