Since 1990, ifeu has undertaken a large number of projects in the biofuels sector. These have included evaluating biofuels against fossil fuels in relation to environmental protection, identifying the potential for the production and use of biofuels, and analysing a wide range of different types of production and use.
To evaluate biofuels in relation to environmental protection, their complete life cycle is studied and compared using ecological balance sheets and sustainability analyses. Special topics investigated to date include different production sites (Germany, Europe, the tropics), different production methods (conventional and organic farming), and different applications (in cars, lorries, tractors). The studies have also focused on different usage and conversion technologies (internal combustion engine vs. fuel cell, Fischer-Tropsch diesel vs. biomethane).
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels studied include:
- biodiesel and vegetable oils (including rapeseed, sunflower, soya bean, canola, palm oil)
- Bioethanol (from sugar cane, sugar beet, maize, wheat, potato, molasses, lignocellulose)
- Biomass to Liquid (BtL) (including Fischer-Tropsch diesel, biomethanol, bio-DME)
- Additives such as bio-ETBE, bio-MTBE
- Others such as biogas, biomethane, and hydrogen
- Biofuels from algae