Future Fuels - Editor's note
The transport sector is responsible for a substantial proportion of the world’s carbon emissions and, as such, is a key item on most governments’ climate change agendas. As a result, the development of alternative fuels as commercially viable substitutes to the use of gasoline and diesel are at the forefront of many political programmes and will play a key role in the drive towards a ‘greener and cleaner’ future for us all. This latest Future Fuels supplement aims to update readers on recent developments.
Under the European Renewable Energy Directive, member states have been set specific targets for using renewable energy specifically in transport. In the UK, the Directive, which comes into force in 2011, sets a target of 15% renewable energy in the overall energy supply. On p2, Nick Goodall, Chief Executive of the Renewable Fuels Agency, looks at how developments in the sustainable biofuels sector will help the UK make the difficult transition to a low carbon economy and meet the government’s commitments to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. On p4, Shell outlines the role it expects biofuels to play in the future transport mix, while the article on p6 focuses on recent developments with algae, which promises to be a rich source of biofuels going forwards due to its significant environmental advantages compared to first generation biofuels – although a number of technical and cost hurdles need to be overcome before widespread commercial scale production is possible. On p6, we look at how the global biofuels industry has come through the storm of criticism linking it to last year’s spiking food prices largely intact, with mandatory government targets keeping consumption of ethanol and biodiesel growing in both the European Union and the US, in turn driving demand for imports from suppliers in south-east Asia and Latin America.
Meanwhile, on p10, we take a closer look at the development of a range of hybrid vehicle technologies and the possible implications for future fuel formulations. Hydrogen moves to the fore on p12, with an article reviewing the European Union’s Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative – a €1bn package that was to act as a ‘booster rocket’ for Europe’s hydrogen and fuel cell industry.
The article on p14 reviews the various challenges and opportunities facing Europe’s ethanol sector, while p17 highlights the record-breaking achievements of ‘Greenbird’ – which recently became the fastest ever vehicle to be powered by the wind.We conclude this year’s Future Fuels supplement with a review of recent developments aimed at cutting the aviation industry’s dependence on kerosene as jet fuel, and hope it brings some insights into the ways the industry is rising to the challenge of becoming ‘greener and cleaner’.
Kim Jackson, Editor – Petroleum Review