No matter how quickly we follow the paths to enormous fuel savings, the nation will still need liquid fuel. Planes and heavy trucks can’t yet be cost-effectively electrified. Hydrogen-based designs face transitional barriers. But, where other sources can’t ultimately displace oil, biofuels can.
Biofuel technologies provide ripe investment opportunities, particularly advanced “drop-in” biofuels for heavy trucks and airplanes. With diverse feedstocks and conversion techniques already under development, many of these innovative approaches could be producing substantial amounts of biofuels as soon as 2020.
Second generation biofuel economics by conversion process
Key inputs to our biofuel model for key second-generation biofuel conversion processes are outlined in this table.
Biofuel supply curve
Even with Reinventing Fire’s 2050 outlook on oil use, the nation will still need 3.1 million bbl/d of liquid fuel (minus any natural gas used in trucks). While they can't be cost-effectively electrified, planes and heavy trucks can run on second and third generation biofuels that can be produced in sufficient supply at costs below $80/barrel oil equivalent.