At the end of August, the FNR coordinated ADVANCEFUEL project came to its end. For the last three years, the project has explored a wide variety of approaches in order to facilitate the market uptake of sustainable renewable fuels (RESfuels1). In this context, ADVANCEFUEL was able to confirm that RESfuels represent the most important solution for short to medium term decarbonisation in transport, especially for aviation, marine and heavy-duty road transport sectors, where there is a lack of immediate alternatives.
Throughout ADVANCEFUEL’s three-year duration, the project has been successful in providing stakeholders with new knowledge, tools, standards and recommendations for overcoming barriers that still stand in the way RESfuel commercialisation. The project consortium was able to record these results through the continuous production of outputs such as project deliverables, publications and factsheets, stakeholder tools, project videos and an online visual journey, guaranteeing transparent dissemination and information of interested stakeholders and the general public.
By specifically exploring elements such as the sustainable supply of lignocellulosic biomass, which was analysed within several reports and got summarised in the fact sheet: Energy crops and strengthening the potential of RESFuels, ADVANCEFUEL was able to explore the potential and current availability of suitable biomass. This included an assessment of the availability of agricultural residues, suitable marginal lands, which could be used for growing and harvesting dedicated lignocellulosic energy crops as well as the need for agricultural innovations.
The current maturity of conversion technologies was also a key barrier assessed by ADVANCEFUEL. This particularly concerned the involved investment and operational costs (APEX and OPEX), potentials for their reduction, as well as the identification of specific options for support. Investigating options for integrating RESfuel production into existing fossil fuel infrastructures was an important aspect in that regard. Summarised results can be found within the reports: D3.4 Key European fossil-fuel infrastructures and D3.6 Efficient, low-risk ramp-up of liquid biomass conversion technologies.
Other hurdles for the successful market uptake of RESfuels that were investigated by the project included elements pertaining to sustainability. Although the REDII sets out sustainability criteria for advanced biofuels, a lack of harmonised regulations (coupled with the risk of wide divergence in national implementations and voluntary certifications) serve as barriers to the wholesale of RESfuels. These issues were summarised in different reports that are published on the project’s website, amongst other reports such as: D4.3 Regional specific impacts of biomass feedstock sustainability.
Considering all the different barriers to the successful rollout of RESfuels (which were investigated under the ADVANCEFUEL project), the high overall cost of RESfuels compared to their fossil-based equivalent remains as the most critical barrier to their increased use. This requires the deployment of significant innovation, technological development and scale up measures. Results of the related investigations on end-use options for advanced biofuels and potential scenarios for 2050 are presented in the reports: D6.2 - Role of renewable fuels in transport up to 2050, D5.4 Report on Policy Analysis (II), and D5.6 - Good practices along the RESfuels value chain (II).
The ADVANCEFUEL project was able to proof that advanced fuels could have a significant effect on the European economy and environment. However, it also became clear that further support is urgently needed in order to achieve the required technological development, up-scaling and integration of these fuels as well as for increasing investor confidence. Detailed and value-chain specific recommendations have been elaborated upon and can be found within the ADVANCEFUEL project’s final publication, as well as in D5.4 Report on Policy Analysis (II), which will be published in the very near future.
1) RESfuels in the ADVANCEFUEL project refer to liquid advanced biofuels produced from lignocellulosic biomass and other liquid renewable fuels from non-biological origin