Reducing dependency on fossil fuels, securing energy needs and mitigating climate change all contribute to an increasing demand for alternative energy sources, like biofuels. Derived from biomass resources, biofuels production can provide a sustainable energy source for rural people and enterprises in developing countries - and an opportunity for economic development.
In addition to biogas, a gaseous form of biofuels, SNV is working with local counterparts on liquid biofuels. Liquid biofuels are usually divided into ethanol, an additive or substitute for gasoline, and vegetable oils for the production of biodiesel, as substitute for diesel. For now, ethanol is mainly produced by fermenting and distilling biomass that contain high amounts of sugar, such as sugar cane and coffee pulp. Ethanol is mainly used in gasoline blending for the transport sector.
The second main type of liquid biofuel is biodiesel. Biodiesel is mainly produced from plant seed oils and applied in diesel engines, pure or blended with regular diesel. Also known as Pure Plant Oil (a biofuel itself, that can be applied as cooking energy, but also in converted diesel engines), vegetable oils can be extracted by pressing and filtering the vegetable seeds. Important oil-producing crops are Oil Palm, Rapeseed and Jatropha. SNV is focusing on small-scale producers of energy crops, connecting them to biofuels value chains in Inclusive Business initiatives for increased production, income and employment opportunities.
In recent years, many discussions on biofuels production have highlighted impacts on food security and the environment. SNV emphasises sustainable production of biofuels in less-developed countries, while contributing to inclusive policy development. Our programmes are increasingly moving beyond first-generation biofuels (from alternative energy crops) to second-generation fuels produced from biomass waste. We apply strict biofuels sustainability criteria to all our projects. Furthermore, through our initiatives with the private sector, we promote sustainability and address social, economic and environmental consciousness.