Liquid biofuels, bioethanol, and biodiesel (fatty acid methyl ester) are practical and offer attractive advantages over other forms of biomass energy resources in terms of high energy density and ease of storage and transport. However, there has been no significant increase in the production of these fuels in the past few years. The reason is that there is no profitability for producers owing to high production cost and no benefits for consumers because of unstable product quality and lower fuel economy and power. Moreover, emergence of next-generation automobiles (e.g., batterypowered and fuel cell electric vehicles) will lower the demand for gasoline. From this perspective, it seems as if there is no role left for biofuel production in Japan’s future energy system. However, from another perspective, biofuels may have a vital function under some circumstances, if appropriate and profitable technologies are developed. Using the example of a novel biodiesel production process using resin catalysts, this article discusses those technologies and circumstances inwhich biofuels can be a part of future sustainable energy systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- 化学 (全般)