An important role player in the fuel industry believes that bio-fuels will play an increasingly important role over the next two decades as the world tries to phase out hydrocarbons, a role even more important than that of hydrogen or electricity.
The General Manager of fuel development strategy and alternative energies at Shell, Arthur Reijnhart, sees a landscape with a much more diverse energy supply emerging over the next few decades. This, he says, will be driven by an increase in demand fuelled by rising incomes, increasing urbanisation and continuing population growth. He says that it will become more difficult as well as more expensive to source fossil fuels. The importance of alternative energy sources will therefore continue to grow and by 2030 alternative fuels will account for about 30% of fuel-usage. This, he says, will come from a variety of products.
He concedes that electricity, hydrogen and natural gas have a role to play in this regard, but bio-fuels will be 'the single most important alternative to hydrocarbons in mobility in the next 20 years.'
Shell already has plans in place to increase its operations in the bio-fuels market. He pointed to the company's recent $12 partnership agreement with Cosan, a major Brazilian ethanol and sugar producer. Reijnhart also foresees major breakthroughs in the cellulosic ethanol production process during the next two decades.
One thing is clear: by the year 2050 the average car will not be a V8 Buick with a fuel consumption of 10mpg.
Author - Louise Hutchinson
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