Driving without Petroleum? A Comparative Guide to Biofuels, Gas-to-liquids and Coal-to-liquids as Fuels for Transportation (2007)

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Biofuels and other non-petroleum liquid fuels have great potential as an alternative to standard fuels in the transportation sector, but this potential needs to be assessed carefully if governments are to get policy frameworks right. As with any other manufactured resource, these alternative fuels have their costs and benefits, and this study from the Energy Charter Secretariat analyses the current status of available technologies, and the economic and environmental implications of different policy choices.

The report puts into context the production and use of non-petroleum transportation liquid fuels (bioethanol, biodiesel, and synthetic fuels) in key markets. Both 'first generation' biofuels (for which technologies are already commercially deployed) and 'second generation' fuels (for which research and development is underway, but without, as yet, commercial deployment) are considered. The guidelines are a desktop analysis and intend to give the best possible assessment of non-petroleum liquid fuels and provide useful conclusions and ready reference for a non-technical reader.

A key principle of the Energy Charter is the pursuit of sustainable development through minimising in an efficient manner of the environmental impact of all operations within the energy cycle. In particular, the Charter promotes developing and using renewable energy sources and cleaner fuels, and employing technologies and technological means that reduce pollution. This report was drafted with this principle in mind, and benefited greatly from discussions with member countries in the Energy Charter's Investment Group.