Don: Biofuels have the potential to replace petroleum
Published on: Sunday, September 09, 2012
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Kota Kinabalu: Biofuels for transport, including ethanol, biodiesel and several other liquid and gaseous fuels, have the potential to displace a substantial amount of petroleum-based fuels worldwide over the next few decades.According to Prof Pogaku Ravindra from the School of Engineering and Information Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, a clear trend in that direction has begun.

Pogaku said compared to petroleum, the use of biofuels for transport was still quite low in nearly every country.

"By far the largest production and use is of ethanol in the US and Brazil where similar volumes are used and they are many times higher than in any other country.

"But even in the US, ethanol represents less than two per cent of transport fuel (while in Brazil it accounts for about 30 per cent of petrol demand).

"However, many International Energy Agency members, including the US, Canada, several European countries (and the European Union), Australia and Japan, are considering or have already adopted policies that could result in much higher biofuel use over the next decade," he said here Saturday.

He said while biofuel production costs were fairly easy to measure, the benefits were difficult to quantify.

"But this does not necessarily mean that the benefits are not substantial.

"Increasing the use of biofuels can improve energy security, reduce greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, improve vehicle performance, enhance rural economic development and, under the right circumstances, protect ecosystems and soils," he said.

Pogaku said ethanol and biodiesel could also provide significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline and diesel fuel on a "well-to-wheels" basis.

"While a range of estimates exists, most studies reviewed find significant net reductions in carbon monoxide-equivalent emissions for both types of biofuels.

"Biofuels can also provide air quality benefits when used either as pure, unblended fuels or, more commonly, when blended with petroleum fuels, not to mention the vehicle performance benefits and agricultural benefits," he said.

In this respect, Pogaku said, the School of Engineering and Information Technology of UMS would organise the first International Workshop on Advances in Biofuels (IWABF2012) from Sept 26-27, 2012.

"The inaugural IWABF2012 will look both at recent trends and at the outlook for the future, in terms of potential biofuel production.

"It also examines the benefits and costs of biofuel use, to displace petroleum fuels.

"Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is expected to launch the event," he said. - Bernama


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