From Biomass to biofuels

Biomass represents the biodegrade fraction of products, waste and residues from biological origin from agriculture, forestry as well as the biodegradable of industrial and municipal waste. While bioliquids stand for liquid fuel for energy purposes such as electricity, heating and cooling, biofuels are liquid or gaseous fuel for transport only.

Different types of biofuels:

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced from agricultural resources such as vegetable oils, waste and residues. In Europe, most biodiesel is made from European grown rapeseed oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, while current research focus on developing the use of algae and straw. Biodiesel is produced either through esterification or can be “hydrotreated” resulting in Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) or Renewable Diesel.

Bioethanol is ethanol produced from biomass and/or the biodegradable fraction of waste. Ethanol is the result of the fermentation of sugars into alcohol from diverse feedstocks such as cereals, sugar beet, potatoes.

Biogas is produced during anaerobic digestion of organic substrates. It can be produced from most types of organic raw material, except for lignin, which is not anaerobically degraded. The most common substrates for biogas production are agricultural products (energy crops) and by-products such as manure, followed by various kinds of biowaste, including sewage sludge, source-separated municipal waste, and organic fractions of household and industrial waste.


Definition of Advanced Biofuels

The ESBF Sustainable Stakeholders Committee gathering high level representatives of the biofuels industry and institutions met in Brussels in June 2013 to reach strong political momentum. The meeting resulted in gathering common complementary criteria to qualify as advanced biofuels:

Can be considered as advanced, biofuels:

(1) Having low carbon dioxide emission or high GHG reduction
(2) Demonstrating high sustainability
(3) Orginitating from Ligno-cellulosic biomass, municipal or industrial waste, sludge, residue streams      or process by-products , algae, micro-organisms


ESBF Reports: Overview of Use, Type and Prospects of European Biofuels

ESBF has gathered and summarised accurate information on European biofuels in several respects:

  • Use of biofuels in the EU - in 2013, 2014 and 2015
  • Prospects of different types of advanced biofuels - in 2013, 2014 and 2015
  • Technical and non – technical barriers for further deployment of biofuels - in 2013, 2014 and 2015

The reports are updated regularly; should you want to make a contribution, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.