I am still adding extra ideas into points I previously laid out regarding who is likely to call for the development of Renewable Gas.
9. Other International Agencies, such as IEA Bioenergy and Governments (Continued)
The Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II) in the European Union, and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in the United States of America set regulatory ambitions for the increase of renewable fuels, either as pure streams, or in blends.
There are a number of reasons why the percentages of renewable fuels in blends are relatively low compared to ambition in other areas, such as for the percentage of low carbon electricity generated.
One reason is that it is thought that supplies of renewable fuels, or renewable components of fuel blends, might be limited in quantity – specifying high percentages in targets for road fuels could lead to scarcity and rule-breaking.
Another issue of concern is that producing renewable fuels might well compete with the food supply for the use of land or crops. This “food versus fuel” struggle is typified by the competition for maize corn stocks (which is destined either for bioethanol or cattle feed) and the land to grow it.
A third deliberation is found where fuel plant species are supplanting native tropical rainforest or woodland : the net carbon emissions from deforestation cannot be compensated for by the raising of oil palms, for example, in Indonesia and Malaysia (which the forests were originally razed to raise).
As a general finding, the more a technology is deployed, the more evolved it is, and the more efficient and cheap it is : low renewable fuels ambitions could be said to be stalling cost-effectiveness and efficiency in producing renewable fuels – a negative feedback.
If volume growth continues to be depressed, there could come a point where regulatory targets cannot be met. If this arrives, then a new approach might be necessary.
So far, renewable fuels have been considered to be solely those produced from grown biomass – so by the thermal and biological decomposition and reformation of lipids and (poly)saccharides in photosynthesising plants and certain members of the non-plant-non-animal clades of the tree of life.
To increase volumes, we could make the biomass box itself larger, by broadening our understanding of what can be grown to become usable carbonaceous material : plasmodium-phase slime mold biodiesel, anyone ?
Yet, the more we start to look outside this biological box for sources of carbon to make into fuels (with the addition of the hydrogen from water, and the oxygen from the air), via synthesis, the larger the potential source of renewable fuels could be.
Why, we can fish carbon out of such things as : the carbon dioxide that’s normally a waste product of biogas production, carbon dioxide from the cement industry, waste wood by-products from forestry and maybe even young muds from tidal estuaries – ploughed out through dredging shipping channels.
There are a variety of ways that carbon can be cycled into making renewable fuels, including DAC – Direct Air Capture, if this becomes efficient.
It seems likely that if biomass-sourced biologically-produced renewable fuels have a maximum limit to their volumes, then governments and international agencies will put out the call for synthetic renewable fuels, such as the gases Renewable Methane and Renewable Hydrogen.