ADVANCED – biofuels are set to play a key role in helping developing countries mitigate climate change, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

This comes in the wake of environmental commitments countries made at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Paris COP21 climate change conference in France.

The UNCTAD have reported that advanced biofuels made from non-food biomass, also known as second-generation biofuels, have become a commercial reality, and that this was happening in the context of advanced technologies, economic pressures and a political will to act on climate change.

“In the wake of the environmental commitments countries have made with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris COP21 climate change agreement, the report focuses on how the market for second-generation biofuels can be exploited, and how to make the technology available in developing countries,” the report reads.

It also stated that with a specific focus on cellulosic ethanol, a new type of biofuel produced from wood, grass or the inedible parts of plants would suffice.

It said a key factor in decreasing costs for the energy industry would be process improvements to allow the market to expand.

The report revealed that mitigation projects in countries varied significantly in their technological approaches as well as the raw material (“feedstocks”) used for fuel production.

The report found that the European Union- and United States-based companies had engaged in partnerships abroad to build advanced ethanol facilities.

“However, while production facilities have been scaled up over the past three years, evidence suggests that actual production is much smaller than nominal capacities, due to a confluence of factors including high feedstock costs, high processing costs, incomplete domestic regulatory frameworks favourable to advanced biofuels, risk avoidance, and limits to the amount of biofuel that can be blended with conventional petroleum-based fuel in major markets,” the report said.

UNCTAD has suggested the creation of regulatory frameworks for advanced bioenergy tailored to national circumstances which do not necessarily focus on the type of supply but instead on existing local demands and also to promote cooperation between domestic organizations and foreign companies for joint ventures by means of investment agreements in order to facilitate technology transfer.

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