IEA gives high marks, caveats, for biofuel

April 21, 2011 at 9:09 AM

VIENNA, April 21 (UPI) -- Biofuels could play important and clean alternatives to the conventional energy mix but development needs to proceed sustainably, the IEA said from Vienna.

The International Energy Agency said increased use of biofuels could play a foundational role in cutting carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector.

The IEA said in a road map for a clean energy future that biofuels could grow from 2 percent of the total transport fuel mix currently to 27 percent by 2050.

The agency warned, however, that in order for this to happen, fossil fuels used to convert organic matter to fuel must decline. Also, developers must produce biofuels in such a way that food supplies aren't negatively affected and forests aren't converted to grow fuel stocks.

Bo Diczfalusy, director of sustainable energy for the IEA, said biofuels can provide a low-carbon alternative to a transportation sector that is the cause of much of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

"Further support for advanced biofuel research, development and demonstration is still needed to improve conversion efficiencies and reduce costs," he stressed.

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