Bioenergy and the convergence of the markets for fuel, food, and fibre

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Courtesy of BioEnergy Conference & Exhibition

Don Roberts said four key variables are driving the economics of biofuel production: the price of fossil fuels, the cost of the feedstock, the “plethora” of conversion technology, and regulations, which stimulate demand. These variables are in flux, which presents a dilemma for investors, who “hate uncertainty.”

Conversion technologies are at varying stages of market readiness. As “some of the best minds in science are working on this issue,” investments should not be based solely on what is currently marketable.

Roberts said there are two key guidelines for public bioenergy policy. First, it is more efficient to use biomass than biofuels for heat and electricity production. Second, when allocating public wood, pulp and paper generate a higher gross domestic product and more employment than bioenergy alone.

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