Expert provides outlook for biofuels as energy transition takes place

A leading expert on energy and geopolitics says an energy transition now underway presents challenges and opportunities for biofuels.

During a National Ethanol Conference virtual panel Wednesday, Dr. Daniel Yergin referred to earlier energy transitions that traditionally were driven by technology, economics, and some government policy.

“This transition is being driven by government policy, and we might also say by investor policy. The policies of the institutional investors.”

Among them, he says major pension funds, mutual fund companies, and exchange traded funds are now looking at environment, social, and governance criteria in addition to profitability.

Yergin believes electric vehicles will be a fixture in the energy transition, but he also sees liquid biofuels playing a significant role because they are cost-effective and practical.

“It seems to us that a lot of policymakers, not all policymakers, but a lot and certainly a lot of people in Congress are very interested in biofuels as part of the all-of-the above, or maybe we should call it the most-of-the-above strategy. But it has to be the right biofuels in terms of carbon footprint.”

He says it’s imperative the footprint be lowered for biofuels to remain competitive with electrification.

Last year, Yergin was named Energy Writer of the Year by the American Energy Society for his book “The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations.”

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