Report Forecasts Advanced Biofuels Will Nearly Double in Five Years


New biofuel technology is finally starting to push aside traditional biofuels, such as first-generation biodiesel, according to a new report from Lux Research.

New facilities based on non-food feedstocks and producing novel fuels account for over half of new capacity deployment for the first time in the biofuel industry’s history, says the report. However, overall output will grow at a slower pace to 67 billion gallons a year (BGY) in 2022 from 59 BGY in 2016.

“A new era of technology commercialization has brought the global biofuels industry to the cusp of a tipping point as new facilities target low-carbon and high-performance drop-in biofuels,” says Runeel Daliah, Lux Research associate and lead author of the report titled “Biofuels Outlook 2022: The Dawn of a New Era in Global Biofuel Capacity Expansion.”

“With many of the technologies capable of producing advanced biofuels still at demonstration scale, the next five years will be critical as companies raise capital, establish value chain security and produce commercial volumes as these projects come online,” he adds.

Lux Research analysts quantified the commercial deployment of new technologies in the global biofuels industry using a database of nearly 2,000 facilities from 1,461 companies in 90 countries with nameplate capacity data through 2022. The report includes the following findings:

  • Growth slows, but advanced biofuels rise. The global biofuels industry will grow at a slower 2.2% annual rate to 67 BGY of nameplate capacity by 2022. First-generation biofuels, which hold a 91.5% market share, will continue to dominate but will lose nearly 6% of market share as advanced biofuels see rapid growth, nearly doubling capacity to 9.6 BGY.
  • Biodiesel will begin to fade. Second-generation biodiesel makes up 65% of the 5.0 BGY advanced biofuel market today but is projected to lose 26% market share by 2022 due to the rapid growth of low-carbon and high-performance drop-in biofuels such as renewable diesel.
  • Thermochemical and catalytic processes usher in a new era. Emerging thermochemical and catalytic technologies will surpass bioconversion processes to make up over half of the new capacity deployment for the first time in the biofuel industry’s history.

The report is part of the Lux Research Alternative Fuels Intelligence service.

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