IEA Bioenergy to launch a new report on the potential for advanced biofuels cost reduction

Date Feb 2020


Bioenergy already plays an important role in the global energy economy, and its expanded use is a critical element in future low carbon scenarios, where it can especially play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector. Decarbonising transport will require a range of bio-based transport fuels, and especially advanced low carbon fuels which are suitable for long-haul transport applications including aviation.

A number of appropriate technologies to produce such fuels are being developed and commercialised. However so far, their production has only reached a limited scale and a massive roll out of these technologies would be needed to fulfil their potential role in low carbon transport scenarios. For example, providing the 35 EJ of such fuels foreseen within the IEA’s Sustainable Bioenergy Roadmap would require some 4000 large scale production plants world-wide by 2060.

The costs of these advanced biofuels are currently higher than those of the fossil fuels which they can displace and of more conventional biofuels such as ethanol from sugar or corn, or biodiesel. It is therefore important to consider what scope there is to reduce the production costs of a range of advanced biofuels, and to identify under what conditions they could become affordable.

This new report, “Advanced Biofuels – Potential for Cost Reduction to be launched on February 20th, 2020 and carried out by an experienced international team, uses as its starting point a study on the costs of advanced biofuels carried out within the programme of work of the Sub-Group on Advanced Biofuels (SGAB) (under the European Commission’s Sustainable Transport Forum (STF)) and published in 2017. The report:

  • Updates and extends this study to provide estimates of the current costs of producing a selection of relevant advanced biofuels;
  • Identifies the scope for cost reduction for these advanced biofuels;
  • Compares these costs and cost trajectories with likely trends in fossil fuel prices, and those of conventional biofuels.
  • Examines the impact of policy measures, including carbon pricing, on the economic competitiveness of advanced biofuels.

Further information on