About the project

Climate benefits and greenhouse gas (GHG) balances are aspects often discussed in conjunction with sustainability and biofuels. Every now and then voices are heard in media claiming that biofuels have worse environmental impact compared to diesel and gasoline. This is true for a fraction of the biofuels on the market but not for the majority of the biofuels. The total GHG emissions depend on the entire fuel production chain, mainly from the agriculture or forestry feedstock systems and the manufacturing process. To compare different biofuel production pathways it is essential to conduct an environmental assessment using a well to wheel (WTW) analysis methodology.

This study identifies research and development challenges for Swedish biofuel actors based on literature studies as well as discussions with the researchers themselves. The ambition has been to learn about ongoing research and find improvement potentials, dilemmas between different improvement options as well as if there are barriers to overcome or technology that needs to be proven in large scale before the fuel production can achieve commercial status.

The overall study consists of case studies focusing on three biofuel production technology options that are currently in the demonstration phase: cellulose based ethanol, methane from gasification of solid wood, and DME from gasification of black liquor. This is done with the purpose of identifying research and development potentials that may result in improvements in the WTT (Well-to-Tank) emission values. In addition to the three case studies, improvement potentials for the agriculture and forestry part of the WTT chain are also discussed in a separate study.

Photo: FreeImages.com/Mauro Alejandro Strione


Per Alvfors, Krister Sjöström, Henrik Kusar and Mimmi Magnusson, KTH // Niklas Berglin and Christian Hoffstedt, Innventia // Pål Börjesson, Gunnar Lidén, Ola Wallberg, Guido Zacchi, Lovisa Björnsson and Henrik Stålbrand, Lund University // Maria Grahn, Simon Harvey and Karin Pettersson, Chalmers // Kristina Holmgren, Jenny Arnell, Kristian Jelse and Tomas Rydberg, IVL // Patrik Klintbom, Volvo // Elisabeth Wetterlund, Linköping University // Olof Öhrman, ETC Piteå

The study was performed as a pilot project in the consolidating phase of developing f3.

Maria Grahn, SP/Chalmers, has edited the report. Contact the f3 centre office for further information.