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Second-generation biofuels

To develop new fuels

Second-generation biofuels, produced using the inedible part of plants, are used to power vehicles, limiting their CO2 emissions.

Fossil fuels represent more than 80% of world consumption, and transport in particular depends 95% on oil. While reserves are diminishing, worldwide demand is constantly increasing, due to the emergence of certain economies. Experts estimate that the global demand for energy could rise by more than 50% between 2009 and 2030 and that oil production will reach a peak around 2020/2030.

Burning fossil fuels generates CO2, a greenhouse gas that is the primary cause of global warming.

It is therefore necessary to find cleaner fuels that do not depend on oil.

Biofuels are an alternative for powering vehicles, replacing traditional petrol. There are 2 types of biofuels:

  • First-generation biofuels are extracted from agricultural products: beetroot, rape seed, etc. They compete with foodstuffs.
  • Second-generation biofuels are produced using the inedible part of plants (straw, wood, plant waste). Unlike first-generation biofuels, they do not compete with the use of raw materials as food. They can be used directly by traditional vehicles and considerably reduce CO2 emissions.

The Group is actively involved in the development of technologies to produce second-generation biofuels. Air Liquide is building a pilot unit in Karlsruhe (Germany), to demonstrate the feasibility of the industrial production of these biofuels.

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