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Project BA1 - Industrial Consultation and Analytical Feasibility Study for Emerging Metrology Requirements to Support Biofuels
Biofuels and the energy sector are one component of the newly emerging knowledge-based ‘bioeconomy’. Considerable attention is being devoted globally to renewable energy supplies and biofuels offer an important addition to supplement/replace conventional fossil fuels.
Biofuels can be categorised as ‘first’ to ‘fourth’ generation. Current ‘first generation’ biofuels are derived from products of conventional food crops (the starch, sugar and oil feedstocks from crops such as wheat, maize, sugar cane, palm oil and oilseed rape). These are converted to biodiesel and bio-ethanol for use as automotive fuels. Given these feedstocks are important food sources, investment has been seen in a broader range of feedstocks (including lignocellulose in dedicated energy crops such as perennial grasses, and from forestry, the co-products from food production and domestic vegetable waste biomass – ‘second generation’ biofuels). ‘Third generation’ fuels include new feedstocks from novel non-food oil crops, the use of marine organisms and the direct production of hydrocarbons from plants or microbial systems. Synthetic biology offers future potential to produce novel chemicals through re-design of biological pathways or organisms – such ‘fourth’ generation biofuels are attractive for use within the existing transport infrastructure without conflicting with current engines, supply-line modifications or fuel standards. Such breadth of feedstocks and variety/complexity of processing efficiencies has a large effect on the biofuel quality, a cause of increased concern to industry and end-users alike. The metrology required to support this evolving activity is not well defined or understood internationally.
The EU has set an ambitious target that, by the year 2020, 20% of the EU energy consumption will be from renewable sources. Member States have been set a target requiring 10% of transport fuels to be from renewable sources. Policy frameworks such as the EU Biofuels Directive and Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) for the UK, target 5% of transport fuel supply to be from biofuels by 2010 and 10% by 2020.
Aims and objectives
- To inform BIS strategy on the global and UK specific metrology needs to support legislation for existing and emerging biofuels
- To establish capabilities for supporting the emerging diversity of biofuels
- To collaborate with EU/international-supported activities for the production of reference materials to inform biofuel specification
Last modified on
01 June 2010.