CO2 Mitigation through Biofuels in the Transport Sector – Status and Perspectives

By order of: Research Association for Combustion Engines (FVV)

Duration: 2003 - 2004

Financed by:

Research Association for Combustion Engines (FVV)
Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP)
German Association for Research on Automobile-Technique (FAT, see VDA)

Executed by: 

IFEU – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg

  • Dr. Markus Quirin
  • Dipl.-Phys. Ing. Sven O. Gärtner
  • Dr. Martin Pehnt
  • Dr. Guido A. Reinhardt (project leader)  

Background and Goal

Many studies worldwide have been conducted to examine the environmental impact of biofuels for transportation and estimate their cost and quantity potential. These studies have at times shown considerable differences in the findings and conclusions. In order to obtain an overview which identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the available studies and to determine further research needs, IFEU Institute Heidelberg conducted the present study. It was commissioned by the Research Association for Combustion Engines FVV - with member companies such as all well known car manufacturers in Germany - and the Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants gathering organizations such as the German Farmer's Association, the German Cooperative Association, and the Association of the Chambers of Agriculture Plant Breeding Companies.

This study analyses and compares all international, publicly accessible publications about all biofuels for transportation currently used (e.g. biodiesel and bioethanol as well as those potential future biofuels like BTL). More than 800 studies were taken into account. From these, 63 studies satisfied the criteria for detailed analyses, leading to the valuation of 109 balances of energy and greenhouse gases of various biofuels, which were compared either to conventional fuels or other biofuels. In most cases the complete life cycles of the fuels, from production to consumption, were considered.

Links and Downloads

Executive Summary
click here

Main report (pdf file, 1.8 MB)

The Annex to the report is available in German only.