Biofuels demand up for aviation, marine industries

Demand for biofuels in the aviation and marine industries has expanded rapidly in recent years, representing one of the fastest-growing segments of the global biofuels market, according to rojections from market research firm Navigant Research.

Biofuels will make up 6.1 percent of the aviation and fuel market in the U.S by 2024, the firm estimated. At the same time, global production capacity is expected to reach 3.3 billion gallons, or 1.5 percent of total marine and aviation consumption, the report noted.

The growth in biofuels comes as nations look for solutions to combat rising fuel costs and try to comply with emerging emissions regulations. In the last five years, biofuels, in part, powered 600,000 miles of flight among more than 40 commercial airlines, the report noted.

But constraints with the raw materials used to produce biofuels combined with the high cost to invest in biofuel technology could dampen growth, the report noted.

Overall, the United States is expected to lead the construction of refineries capable of producing bio-based jet and marine fuel, with new construction expected to generate $7.8 billion in revenue over the next 10 years.

The European Union also is expected to play a large role in the emerging market, but forecasting their growth is trickier, hinging in large part on whether a carbon tax is implemented on airlines operating in EU territory. If that happens, production capacity would increase dramatically.