Production trends indicate that the supply of both ethanol and biodiesel is steadily increasing, although the global ethanol market is more than four times larger than the global biodiesel market. Markets for both are increasing, not only in established, traditional markets such as the European Union, Brazil and the United States, but also in countries such as China, India and Argentina.
The latter countries are beginning to see the economic potential of the biofuel sector, and its prospective role in a green economy. Although markets are increasing, the global bioenergy potential is largely underused, particularly in some regions where there is significant potential for efficiency gains in both agricultural production and conversion to biofuels.
Billions of litres 20
Biodiesel 15 10 5 European Union 0 2005 2010 Figure 2.7 World biofuels production trends 2015 2017 Source: FAPRI, U.S. and World Agricultural Outlook, 2008. 2010
World biofuels production trends Ethanol
China India Brazil
Box 2.1 Brazil: empowering an industry sector
United States 2015 2017
United States Brazil
Brazil has gradually developed and established an ethanol industry and growing biodiesel sector, offering an example of how countries can develop ‘home-grown’ renewable energy sectors. This development has been facilitated by long-term policies to address the entire supply chain, including the introduction of ‘flex-fuel’ vehicles which run on any blend of petrol and ethanol.
Social and environmental safeguards were developed to address concerns as they arose. The Social Fuel Seal, for example, encourages the economic integration of rural farmers into the biofuel sector, while land zoning provides a methodology for identifying suitable land areas for biofuel production without encroaching on land with high biodiversity. Efficiency improvements and integrated food energy systems (IFES) with sugarcane bagasse have also increased the productivity and efficiency of biofuels in Brazil. Finally, bagasse is increasingly used not only to supply the process energy for ethanol production plants, but also to supply electricity to communities near the plants.