Decision-makers can facilitate from comparison of biofuels

This project has carried out a comparison of climate benefits, resource efficiency and costs for biofuels produced from residual products from the forest.

Twelve biofuels – eight drop-in fuels and four single-molecule fuels – have been compared from a Swedish perspective, from raw materials to use in cars and trucks.

The cost calculations include production costs (including raw materials), distribution costs (including infrastructure) and the vehicles, and reflect commercially mature technologies with some exceptions that may require further development.

It is not possible to give a straight answer as to whether drop-in or single-molecule fuels is the preferred strategy for Sweden. However, the comparison presents decision-makers with knowledge on which fuels are the most promising, thereby letting them make well-informed decisions about, for example, investments and the design of instruments by weighing different factors against each other.

These fuels are most promising in terms of climate benefits, resource efficiency and costs:

  • Cars: Drop-in fuels such as petrol from lignin and hydropyrolysis perform well. Other good alternatives are single-molecular fuels in the form of methanol, DME and methane, drop-in fuels in the form of petrol based on rapid pyrolysis and the three types of diesel fuels based on hydrogen treatment and upgrading.
  • Trucks: Single-molecule fuels in the form of methanol and DME and drop-in fuels in the form of diesel based on lignin and based on hydropyrolysis perform well. Other interesting fuel alternatives are LBG in diesel engines (single-molecule fuel) and diesel based on rapid pyrolysis and hydrogen treatment (drop-in fuels).

The single molecule fuels studied are ethanol, DME, methane and methanol. The drop-in fuels studied are gasification-based petrol, FT diesel, diesel and petrol from the pretreatment and upgrading of lignin, diesel and petrol from pyrolysis and hydrotreating upgrades, bio-oil-based diesel and petrol from hydropyrolysis. A comparison with certain electrical fuels (fuels produced with electricity, water and carbon dioxide) is also included in the study.

The study is based on a literature review. Existing studies have been updated as needed and a dialogue with industry representatives has been conducted.

The project results were presented in a webinar (in Swedish) available here:


Tomas Lönnqvist, IVL


Julia Hansson, IVL // Patrik Klintbom, Erik Furusjö, and Kristina Holmgren, RISE

Time plan
September 2019 - June 2021

Total project cost
1 732 500 SEK

The Swedish Energy Agency, the f3 partners, E.on Biofor Sweden, Lantmännen Agroetanol, Scania CV AB, Södra, Volvo Personvagnar and Volvo Technology AB.

Swedish Energy Agency's project number within the collaborative research program

A reference group connected to the project consisted of members from Lantmännen, Södra, E.on Biofor, Volvo, Volvo Cars, Scania and Adesso Bioproducts.