The Biofuture Platform aims to be an action-oriented, country-led, multistakeholder mechanism for policy dialogue and collaboration among leading countries, organizations, academia and the private sector conscious of the need to accelerate development and scale up deployment of modern sustainable low carbon alternatives to fossil based solutions in transport, chemicals, plastics and other sectors.
The ultimate purpose of the Biofuture Platform is to help in the global fight against climate change, nurturing solutions in low carbon transport and the bioeconomy that can aid countries to reach their Nationally Determined Contribution targets(NDCs), as well as to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDGs 7 (sustainable energy), and 13 (action against climate change), while also contributing to SDGs 8 (economic growth and decent work), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 2 (sustainable agriculture and zero hunger) and 15 (forests and ecosystems).
The Biofuture Platform has been proposed by the government of Brazil to several leading countries in all five continents. The initiative aims to bring together a relatively limited but strong group of like-minded countries which are either already leaders in the new advanced bioeconomy or interested in its development. (see Members section)
There is an urgent need for a sustainable, immediately scalable solution to reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector. Transportation is the sector that has so far been one of the most challenging for mitigation, and it accounts for around 23% of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions according to the IPCC.
While lots of international attention, investment and collaboration have been taking place in the renewable energy field, most of that recent action has been directed to the power sector. While that is welcome and critical, the world needs also to do more for scaling up alternatives to fossil fuels in the transport sector and industry, taking advantage of new, sustainable technologies already in place.
In light of the fact that low carbon transport fuels are the fastest alternative to reduce the carbon intensity of the transport sector without waiting for fleet and infrastructure changes, the Biofuture Platform aims to help filling that attention gap, promoting policy coordination and raising the issue in the global agenda
Recent industrial and technological advancements have offered viable, diverse, sustainable pathways for both low carbon transport fuels and advanced bioproducts and green chemistry. In several countries, projects based on some of those pathways, such as cellulosic, or second generation, ethanol, have recently reached or are about to reach commercial scale. Green diesel, drop-in fuels, algae and advanced aviation biofuels are among several other promising technologies that are leaving the lab and beginning to take the roads and skies.
Cellulosic and other advanced low carbon fuels are an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions. Several independent assessments have indicated an up to 90% reduction in CO2 emissions for cellulosic biofuels, when compared to those of gasoline.
Since they can be blended with gasoline in significant proportions without any engine or infrastructure changes, advanced low carbon fuels can provide a scalable and immediate low-carbon solution for a world in urgent need of them.
Cellulosic and other advanced low carbon fuels can be produced with no additional land and water resources, because they use agricultural residues and waste as feedstock, and greatly increase productivity per hectare of any crop. Advanced biofuels can increase income in rural areas and bring down the cost of food by increasing productivity in the field.
In a vision for a modern, sustainable bioeconomy, future bio-refineries will be able to convert residues and waste into fuels, electricity, chemicals and pharmaceutical ingredients – like today’s petrochemical refineries, but smaller, greener and more sustainable.
- Some of the challenges ahead for sustainably scaling up the bioeconomy are:
- Current uncertainty about policies and mandates for advanced low carbon fuels;
- Lack of recognition and proper pricing of cellulosic and other advanced low carbon fuels´ environmental services and positive externalities;
- An unpredictable environment in terms of future demand and price, made worse by oil price fluctuations and the maintenance of subsidies to fossil-fuels, which amounted to US$ 493 billion in 2014.
- Lack of consolidated, diversified and competitive domestic and international markets; and
- Lack of supply-chain and feedstock management policies appropriate for scaling up a sustainable bioeconomy.
Realizing the full potential of this new bioeconomy and scaling up 2nd generation and other low carbon advanced fuels willrequire perseverance and appropriate policies. Creating an enabling policy environment will be critical to attract sufficient investments.
The Biofuture Platform work plan must be built and agreed upon by all members, post-launch, based on the goals put forward in the launch statement. With that said, the Biofuture Platform may:
- Promote international collaboration and dialogue between policy makers, industry, academia, and other stakeholders
- Facilitate an enabling environment for advanced low-carbon fuel and bioeconomy-related investments
- Raise awareness and share analysis about the current status, potential, and advantages of low-carbon fuels and other advanced bioeconomy developments
- Promote research and development and share analysis, policy practices and information on R&D activities and needs
- Discuss how to effectively evaluate, share and promote sustainable practices for the production of biomass and the entire value chain life cycles.
In the first few months after launch, Biofuture Platform members will work together, with the participation of willing international organizations, initiatives, and other stakeholders, to develop a prioritized workplan and vision based on a preliminary assessment of member countries’ standing on bioeconomy policies, investments and projects.
How it Works
The Biofuture Platform will be driven and implemented according to simple and commonly agreed procedures and principles to be defined by all of its members together and in accordance with the objectives set by its launch statement.
By request of its members, the government of Brazil is serving as the interim secretariat/facilitator of the Biofuture Platform at launch.
The Biofuture Platform shall strive to be lean, fast and efficient, and as such is expected to adopt electronic means of coordination and governance, using the web, e-mail, teleconferences, videoconferences, webinars, and electronic collaboration tools.
Physical meetings may also take place from time to time, preferably back-to-back with other international climate and clean-energy related meetings and events that bring together the appropriate stakeholders.