Variable demand as a means to more sustainable biofuels and biobased materials

Iris Vural Gursel, Foluke Quist-Wessel, Hans Langeveld, Keith L. Kline, Maja Slingerland, Patricio Grassini, Kees Kwant, Wolter Elbersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Abstract: Expanding the use of biofuels is controversial because of concerns about competition with food. Here we describe how varying the biofuel demand could help address these concerns. Variable biofuel demand can be implemented through market or policy mechanisms that adjust biofuel production according to feedstock availability, expanding or contracting in response to supply surplus or limitations. Based on a survey, an expert workshop, and relevant literature, the effects of a variable biofuel demand approach are evaluated with respect to food security, agricultural productivity, detrimental land-use change, and feedstock competition with biobased chemicals and materials. Here we provide evidence that variable biofuel demand can enhance the synergistic development of agriculture, renewable biomass feedstocks and biofuels, but implementation faces several challenges. Recommendations are provided for governance options to tackle these challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-31
Number of pages17
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ILUC
  • agricultural productivity
  • biobased chemicals
  • bioeconomy policy
  • biofuels
  • food security
  • market competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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