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Straight answers are myths: One fuel does not fit all

How come there is no straight answer to the question of which renewable fuel is the best? The answer is that it all depends, said Johanna Mossberg, director of f3, when she introduced the session “Renewable fuel myth busting” arranged by f3 within the Advanced Biofuels Conference program on Friday 19 May.

This may disappoint some and motivate others, since the answer will differ according to many factors, such as time perspective, the system delimitations, the methods chosen as well as the actual production processes and how they are integrated with other systems.

Four researchers held presentations on this theme, each of them busting one of the myths surrounding development of renewable fuels. The first one concerned CO2emission reduction potential, and the statement that it would be a biofuel property. By comparing the production of a renewable fuel to baking meringues, Jonas Joelsson from RISE Processum showed that the potential reduction of CO2 emissions is in the system – not the fuel itself. If you need whites from three eggs for your meringues, what will you do with the yolks? Throw them out, use them to make vanilla ice cream or something else? How many eggs should then be allocated to the meringue? The same type of questions apply for allocating CO2 emissions related to biofuel production. It depends on how you allocate the emissions between fuel product and other by- and side-products generated and the only certain answer that the emission reduction potential varies not with the fuel itself but with the system and the method chosen.

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