Biofuels for transport

Biofuels are transport fuels that are produced from renewable biomass with raw material from the forest, agricultural products or biogenic waste. There are a wide variety of conversion techniques that provide different types of fuels that can replace the current use of petrol and diesel. Most of these fuels are liquid, such as ethanol and biodiesel but they can also be gaseous, biogas.

Four things everyone should know about Swedish biofuels:

  • Biofuels are necessary to create a fossil free transport sector
  • Sustainable biofuels provide great benefit to the climate
  • Swedish production of biofuels creates jobs and strengthens the Swedish business- and rural sectors
  • Placing requirements on emission reductions will favor climate-friendly biofuels

The Swedish parliament has decided that Sweden should have a fossil free vehicle fleet. The goal is now to reduce emissions from transport by 70 percent by 2030 and then completely switch to fossil free traffic. It can be done with a combination of improved efficiency, electrification and fuel switching from fossil fuels to biofuels.

2016 a record year for biofuels in Sweden

Based on energy content, biofuels accounted for 18.6 percent of all fuel supplied to vehicles operating in Sweden in 2016. One in four litres of diesel was a renewable diesel, and the total of 17.2 TWh of biofuels was used according to preliminary statistics from Statistics Sweden and compiled by Svebio.

Supplies of biofuels to the Swedish transportation market 2016 in TWh.

Supplies of biofuels to the Swedish transportation market 2016 in TWh.

These figures suggest that Sweden is the best in Europe when it comes to switch from fossil fuels to biofuels. Globally, it is probably only Brazil that has reached further than Sweden in the transition away from fossil fuels in transportation.

The rapid growth of biofuels in recent years is mainly attributed to the increased use of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) diesel, a renewable diesel made from different bio-based raw materials. Sweden has also an extensive use of rapeseed-derived biodiesel (RME). The share of biomethane in the natural gas vehicle (NGV) fuel blend has increased, reaching a record 83 percent level in 2016. The use of ethanol has however decreased.

Further increase possible

Despite the very high proportion of biofuels, Sweden has not taken advantage of all the opportunities. The taxation of ethanol and RME in recent years has held back the use of these fuels. We have yet to increase low-blend of ethanol in gasoline, from 5 to 10 percent, as the EU standard allows. So there are good opportunities to further increase the share of biofuels and reduce the climate impact from transport.

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