Sustainable biofuels: prospects and challenges

14 January 2008

The Society convened a working group of leading experts to consider the science and technology prospects of delivering efficient biofuels for transport in the broader context of the environmental protection and sustainability.

The working group concluded that biofuels have a potentially useful role in tackling the issues of climate change and energy supply. However, important opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels, and to ensure wider environmental and social benefits, may be missed with existing policy frameworks and targets. Unless biofuel development is supported by appropriate policies and economic instruments then there is a risk that we may become locked into inefficient biofuel supply chains that potentially create harmful environmental and social impacts. New technologies need to be accelerated that can help address these issues, aided by policies that provide direct incentives to invest in the most efficient biofuels.

The report makes a series of recommendations about policies and research needs in order to help develop sustainable biofuels for transport.

Professor John Pickett FRS discusses the issue on video:

Professor John Pickett FRS discusses sustainable biofuels (5 mins).

Related links

Department for Transport Renewable Fuel Obligation

EU fuel quality directive

Press release: Government needs to drive biofuels


Full report

PDF, 926.1 KB