Sweden to see one in three cars running on biofuels by 2030

July 8, 2013

So it may not be next year or even next decade, but I guarantee that’s more than the U.S. will be running on biofuels. I hope, however, that it’s because we are all driving electric cars by then.

Phys Org reports that Swedish biorefinery researchers recently released the results of studies showing that the country could increase biofuel production enough to cover about one-third of its transportation needs. That would be ten times what it uses now, with new fuel coming from forestry residue and agricultural waste. The study, titled “Production of Today’s and Future Sustainable Biofuels’ was done for the Swedish government.

“The type of biofuel matters less. For a production system to be considered sustainable, it should be energy efficient and not compete with today’s production by the forestry industry or agricultural production,” said Bio4Energy scientist Joakim Lundgren.

Biofuels certainly have their proponents, especially in President Obama, who mentions them every time he has a chance. (So often, in fact, that it sounds like he has no idea what he is talking about.) But it also has its opponents, who argue that biofuels will increase demand for corn products, increase the price of food, utilize too much water for production, and could lead to mass deforestation and groundwater destruction.

I, for one, am on the fence about whether biofuels are good or they are bad.

While burning responsibly grown and harvested biofuels is certainly much more favorable than burning coal and gasoline, I would prefer that we shoot for total electric car and transport technology. Imagine if all of our cars, trains, and buses were powered by electricity provided through solar, wind, and geothermal power generation. None of those sources of energy would require any burning of fossil fuels and wouldn’t produce any pollution – and we would still be able to drive our cars.

Biofuels are a good idea, but they aren’t a long-term solution to our current problems. Sweden stating it can get to 33 percent biofuel adoption by 2030 seems important, but it’s short-sighted given that it is 17 years from now. A lot can change in that time.

Biofuel. Gas pump nozzle and jerrycan. 3d image from BigStock.

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