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


Guido Reinhardt

PhD Mathematician, Chemist, Biologist
Scientific Director
+49 (0)6221 4767 31


Luftaufnahme eines Bauernhofs inmitten eines Rapsfeldes.

Carbon opportunity costs of biofuels in Germany

The carbon opportunity costs of biofuels show which emissions could be saved if the cultivation and pro-duction of these fuels were dispensed with. These emissions are higher than the savings from…


What could new sustainable ways of producing diesel and heavy fuel oil look like? What are the new raw materials? Pyromar is about producing “defossilised”, low-sulphur maritime bunker fuels from…

Fuels from electricity (eForFuel)

eForFuel develops an industrial biotechnology solution that uses electricity and microorganisms to convert CO2 into synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, thus providing a sustainable replacement of fossil…

Energy efficiency and sustainable transport in Cyprus

The “energy efficiency and sustainable transport “ in Cyprus analyses the potential of using alternative fuels, e.g. biofuels, natural gas or electro-mobility, for the road and maritime sectors to…

Screening Life Cycle Assessment of Transformers with different Dielectric Fluids

ifeu accompanied a pilot project of Netze BW, in which the use of bio-oils as insulating medium in transformers was investigated.


COSMOS aims at reducing the dependence on imported coconut and palm kernel oils and fatty acids and on castor oil as sources for medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA, C10–C14) and medium-chain polymer…

Updating the input data for essential biogenic energy use paths (BioEm)

This project was commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency (FEA) to calculate emission factors for essential biomass usage pathways in Germany, whereby the GHG emission factors were supplemented…


The main objective of the Global-Bio-Pact project was the development and harmonisation of global sustainability certification schemes for biomass production, conversion systems and trade in order to…


The SUPRABIO project researched, developed and demonstrated a toolkit of novel generic processes that can be applied to a range of biorefinery concepts.

Global assessments and guidelines for sustainable liquid biofuel production in developing countries

This project investigated the sustainability of liquid bio-energy sources in developing countries. The aim was to enable the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to identify priorities for future work,…


Within the framework of sustainability regulations (Biokraft-NachV, BioSt-NachV) must all market participants in biofuel production must prepare greenhouse gas calculations to demonstrate that they…

Wissenschaftliche Studie

Assessment of Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventories of Sweet Sorghum for first and second Generation Bioethanol

In light of increased discussions regarding the competition between bioenergy and food, Sweet Sorghum has emerged as a promising energy crop because it can be used for the production of food, biofuels…


The main objective of 4F CROPS was to collect and analyse all parameters that contribute to successful non-food farming systems in EU agriculture.

Wissenschaftliche Studie

Screening Life Cycle Assessment of Hydrotreated Jatropha Oil

The objective of this screening life cycle project was to evaluate the environmental advantages and disadvantages of Jatropha HVO in comparison to conventional diesel.

Wissenschaftliche Studie

Ecological Effects of using Palm Oil as a Source of Energy

In this project, ifeu analysed the ecological effects of the use of palm oil as a source of energy and identified optimization potenatial.

Wissenschaftliche Studie

Determination of the Environmental Implications of BtL Fuels Production and Biogas Production

ifeu used a screening life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental impact of the production of biomass-to-liquid fuels and biogas in this project.

Wissenschaftliche Studie

Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment of Stationary Energetic Use of Imported Biofuels: The Case of Palm Oil

The study analyses the characteristics of palm oil, possibilities of using it for energy as well as the environmental, economic and social consequences thereof.

Ecological assessment of novel logistics concepts for biofuels

Biogenic fuels are increasingly relevant in recent times. However, there are considerable potentials available for exploration in addition to the established biofuels derived from oil, sugar and…

Screening Life Cycle Assessment of Jatropha Biodiesel

Within this project, ifeu was commissioned by Daimler AG to evaluate the environmental impacts of using the promising plant Jatropha for biofuels

LCA for Biomass-to-Liquid Fuels: An Environmental In-Depth Assessment

At present, BtL (Biomass-to-Liquid) fuels are the subject of various R&D projects on 2nd generation biofuels. However, the state of knowledge on the environmental impacts of BtL fuels is very limited.…

Update and New Aspects of the LCA on RME

In recent years the popularity of biodiesel (rapeseed oil methyl ester, RME) has increased dramatically in Germany. Starting with the overall comparison between RME and conventional diesel fuel, the…

Bioenergy chains from perennial crops in South Europe

The project was a feasibility study to evaluate an entire Southern European bioenergy chain, i.e. from biomass production to thermochemical conversion, under consideration of technological, financial/…

Ecologically Optimized Extension of Renewable Energy Utilization in Germany

The objective of the research project is to develop a strategy for an ‘ecologically optimised’ expansion of renewable energies in Germany. Based on a detailed life cycle assessment, in a first step…

Environmental comparison of RME and rapeseed oil

Ziel der Untersuchung ist ein ökologischer Vergleich für die beiden Bioenergieträger Rapsöl und RME. Dabei sollen unterschiedliche Verwendungen der anfallenden Nebenprodukte genauso berücksichtigt…

Bioenergy for Europe: Which ones fit best? A comparative analysis for the Community

The project's aim was to assess – by means of life cycle analyses – the environmental effects of various biofuels and to compare them against their fossil equivalents as well as against each other.

CO2 Mitigation through Biofuels in the Transport Sector

This study has analysed and compared all international, publicly accessible publications about all biofuels for transportation currently being used.

Wissenschaftliche Studie

Sustainable Biomass Potentials in the German State of Baden-Württemberg

While the energetic use of biomass is a positive development, the recent rapid increase of biomass production may also have negative impacts on soil, water and nature protection.

Wissenschaftliche Studie

Bioenergy from Cereals and Sugar Beet: Energy and Greenhouse Gas Balances

IFEU was commissioned by the German Biofuel Association (LAB) to evaluate the life-cycle energy balances and greenhouse gas emissions of selected bioenergy paths from cereals and sugar beet including…


The BioGrace calculation tools were used to calculate GHG emissions from bio-energy sources, and are available to all market participants. The tools are harmonised within the framework of EU…