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FIGURE 1.13 World fuel ethanol production, 1975-2005. (From Worldwatch, Biofuels for Transportation—Global Potential and Implications for Sustainable and Energy in the 21st Century, Report prepared for the German Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Worldwatch Institute, Washington, DC, 2006. With permission.)

The present cost of ethanol production ranges from about 25 Euro cents to about 1 Euro per gasoline equivalent liter, as compared to the wholesale price of gasoline that is between 40 and 60 Euro cents per liter (Figure 1.14). Biodiesel costs, on the other hand, range between 20 Euro cents to 65 Euro cents per liter of diesel equivalent (Figure 1.15). Figure 1.16 shows the feedstocks used for these biofuels. An important consideration for biofuels is that the fuel not be produced at the expense of food while there are people going hungry in the world. This would not be of concern if biofuels were produced from municipal solid waste (MSW).

According to the Worldwatch report, a city of 1 million people produces about 1800 tonnes of MSW and 1300 tonnes of organic waste every day that, using the present-day technology, could produce enough fuel to meet the needs of 58,000 persons in the United States, 360,000 in France, and nearly 2.6 million in China at current rates of per capita fuel use (Worldwatch Institute 2006).

1.4.10 Summary of RE Resources

By definition, the term reserves does not apply to renewable resources. Therefore, we need to look at the annual potential of each resource. Table 1.8 summarizes the resource potential and the present costs and the potential future costs for the most important renewable resources.

TABLE 1.7 Top Five Ethanol and Biodiesel Producers in the World

Ethanol Production (million liters/year)

Brazil U.S.A. China

16,500 16,230

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