By definition, a biofuel is a solid, liquid or gaseous fuel produced from non-fossil plant or animal material, also known as "biomass". If because of its ease of use, the liquid form is by far the most widely used, the gaseous form is also beginning to have significant success. Biofuels can be produced from various feedstocks, according to various processing techniques. The main liquid biofuels production pathways are shown in the figure below.
Figure : Biofuels production pathways
There exists a multitude of options as far as technology is concerned. At a commercial scale, however, the three main sectors at the international level are bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas, although the latter is still presently less developed than the previous two in the transportation sector.
Synthesis biofuels (also often referred to as "second generation biofuels" or yet "synfuels"), such as Fischer-Tropsch diesel, dimethyl ether (DME), biomethanol or biohydrogen, have been the subject of an intensive research and development (R&D) activity for many years and are often considered to be the most promising biofuels production pathways in the medium-to-long term. At present, there is however no industrial scale facility of this type.
Discover the various biofuels production pathways: