How are Second Generation Biofuel Trends Boosting the Potential of Renewable Energy Businesses?

5 Mar



  • Introduction
  • Trends in the second-generation biofuel industry
  • Key collaborations

A second-generation biofuel is referred to as a biofuel derived from sustainable feedstock that avoids diverting resources from the food biomass in animal or human food chains. It is derived from a range of non-food biomass sources, such as plant materials and animal waste, serving as a fuel source. In addition, second-generation biofuels yield higher energy output per acre as compared to first-generation biofuels.

Second-generation biofuels are formulated to improve cost competitiveness as compared to conventional fossil fuels. The global second-generation biofuel industry is estimated to display a notable CAGR of 26.8% between 2023 to 2032. The sector is gaining momentum owing to energy security concerns and environmental regulations. These advanced biofuels involve cellulosic ethanol, biobutanol, biodiesel, and others.

What are the futuristic trends in the second-generation biofuel industry?

Second-generation biofuels offer a promising solution to energy security and climate change as the world seeks alternatives to fossil fuels while facing environmental challenges.

  • Increase in energy security and environmental concerns:

The exhaustion of finite fossil fuel resources and rise in concerns about greenhouse gas emissions have driven nations to investigate renewable energy alternatives. Second-generation biofuels have become increasingly popular due to their potential to substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a more sustainable energy future. As compared to first-generation biofuels, which frequently depend on food crops such as corn and sugarcane, second-generation biofuels utilize non-food biomass.

Governments and industries globally are acknowledging the significance of shifting to cleaner energy sources to address climate change. Advanced biofuels are promoted through policies and incentives, creating a favorable environment for sectoral growth. The integration of second-generation biofuels into existing energy infrastructure aligns with the broader goal of achieving a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy landscape.

To support the growth of the second-generation biofuels industry, significant investments and policy initiatives have been introduced. Incentives, tax incentives and mandates for the blending of biofuels with existing fossil fuels are part of these policies.

  • Advanced technologies:

The second-generation biofuels sector has experienced notable progress in technology and production processes. Innovations in biochemical and thermochemical conversion methods have enhanced the cost-effectiveness of extracting biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. These innovations have led to a reduction in production costs and overall improvement in the efficiency of biofuel production. Hence, second-generation biofuels have become more competitive in the energy sector.

  • Diversification of feedstock sources:

Another significant trend in the sector involves the diversification of feedstock sources for second-generation biofuels. Although agricultural residues continue to be a substantial source, the industry is actively investigating unconventional feedstocks such as algae and organic waste. This diversification minimizes concerns about competition with food crops and strengthens the resilience of the biofuel supply chain. For instance, algae hold the potential to yield high oil production per acre and cultivated on non-arable land, presenting a promising avenue for sustainable biofuel production.

  • Carbon footprint reduction:

Second-generation biofuels have a much lower environmental impact as compared to first-generation biofuels. The production of biofuels from nonperishable feedstocks helps to preserve farmland and reduces deforestation, which is a common consequence of expanding agriculture for food biofuel. In addition, second-generation biofuels emit significantly less carbon, making them a valuable choice for climate change mitigation.

Dynamic alliances by frontrunners to sustain the competitive industry:

The global second-generation biofuel industry is competitive, and top entities are making strategic alliances to sustain in the sector. These alliances involve mergers, partnerships, acquisitions, collaborations, and new product launches.

Bio-Oils and Cepsa started the construction phase for a biofuels plant in Southern Europe

A subsidiary of Apical, Bio-Oils, and Cepsa, based in Madrid, Spain, started the construction process of the second-generation biofuels plant on February 29, 2024. In this collaborative venture, the two entities aim to establish an advanced facility with a flexible annual production capacity of 500,000 tons, including renewable diesel (HVO/ hydrogenated vegetable oil) and SAF (sustainable aviation fuel).

The highly advanced biofuels plant is designed to minimize its environmental footprint using renewable hydrogen, 100% renewable electricity, and the latest heat recovery and energy efficiency systems. With a commitment to sustainability, the facility is designed to reduce CO2 emissions by 75% compared to traditional biofuel plants and aspires to achieve net-zero emissions in the medium term.

In addition to producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel, the plant will generate biogas, vital for green hydrogen production, and the biogenic CO2 necessary for green methanol production. This contribution aligns with the broader Andalusian Green Hydrogen Valley ecosystem led by Cepsa.

Axens, ECARU, and Qalaa Holdings joined forces to undertake technical and economic studies for a second-generation biofuel project

Egyptian Company for Solid Waste Recycling (ECARU), Axens, and Qalaa Holdings, signed a Cooperation Protocol on July 17, 2023, as part of their commitment to offer viable solutions for cleaner energy. This collaboration aims to conduct technical and economic studies for a project focused on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and second-generation biofuel (Advanced Bioethanol) production. The project will progress in two phases. The initial phase will focus on advanced bioethanol production, followed by the second phase, dedicated to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

To conclude, the global second-generation biofuel industry is experiencing growth due to energy security concerns and environmental regulations. However, advanced technologies, diversification of feedstock sources, and carbon footprint reduction are optimizing the growth of the sector. Furthermore, renewable energy storage is expected to open new avenues for the sector in future.

For a detailed analysis of the global second-generation biofuel industry with opportunity analysis, contact our experts today!

Koyel Ghosh

Koyel Ghosh

Author’s Bio- Koyel Ghosh is a blogger with a strong passion and enjoys writing in miscellaneous domains, as she believes it lets her explore a wide variety of niches. She has an innate interest in creativity and enjoys experimenting with different writing styles. A writer who never stops imagining, she has been serving the corporate industry for the last five years.


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