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Liquid Biofuel Market: Introduction

The global liquid biofuel market was valued at US$ 114 Bn in 2018 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of ~11% during the forecast period. Among types, the ethanol segment accounted for a major share of the global liquid biofuel market in 2018. Ethanol is a biofuel with high octane number, which is produced by fermentation of corn, potatoes, grain, sugar beet, sugarcane, and vegetable residues. The U.S. and Brazil are leading producers of ethanol across the globe. Both countries collectively accounted about 84% share of the world’s ethanol production in 2018. Among feedstocks, the starch crops segment held a significant share of the global liquid biofuel market in 2018. In terms of process, the fermentation segment held a major share of the global liquid biofuel market in 2018. Fermentation is a process largely used for production of ethanol. Based on application, the transportation segment accounted for a leading share of the global liquid biofuel market in 2018. Stringent government regulations regarding carbon emissions across the globe are boosting the demand for alternative fuels. North America is estimated to offer immense growth potential to the liquid biofuel market in the next few years.

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Key Drivers and Restraints of Liquid Biofuel Market

Increasing demand for alternative fuels from the transportation sector is a major factor driving the global liquid biofuel market. Liquid biofuels are largely used as substitutes for petroleum-based fuels and they are considered useful to improve fuel security; to mitigate climate change; and to support infrastructure development. In order to achieve compliance with emission targets set by various governments to slow down global warming and to improve security of energy supply, an increased contribution of both conventional and advanced biofuels would be required during the forecast period.

Supply security and risk abatement of conventional oil is another major factor positively influencing the global liquid biofuel market. Crude oil reserves are mostly concentrated in countries of Middle East & Africa and North America. However, with the rising demand in industrialized nations as well as in developing countries such as China and India, supply pressure on these reserves increases. This can become a basis for conflicts between oil-producing nations aiming to secure the remaining reserves for themselves in the near future. In this situation, diversification of energy sources is an option for risk abatement. Liquid biofuel production can reduce the dependency on conventional fuels for transportation, cooking, and other conventional uses.


High retrofit costs is a major factor hampering the global liquid biofuel market. Replacement of existing diesel engines and systems powered by conventional fossil fuels with biofuel systems can be a cost-intensive process, as the entire or partial upgrade is required to be carried out without affecting the operational hours.

North America a Highly Lucrative Region of Liquid Biofuel Market

North America dominates the global liquid biofuel market. Around 45% of liquid biofuels are produced in the region. The U.S. is the world’s leading producer of ethanol. It produced around 16 billion gallons or nearly 60 billion liters of ethanol in 2018. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report, ethanol production capacity in the U.S. totaled 16.9 billion gallons per year or 1.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2019. In 2018, the total consumption of ethanol in the U.S. rose to a record high of 16.2 billion gallons, 300 million gallons higher over that in 2017, driven mostly by record exports of over 1.6 billion gallons. Brazil and Argentina are major countries of the liquid biofuel market in Latin America. Both countries account for 90% production of liquid biofuels in Latin America.

Liquid Biofuel Market: Key Developments

In June 2018, Archer Daniels Midland Company announced collaboration with DuPont Industrial Biosciences to develop, produce, and market the cellulase enzyme for use in grain-based ethanol plants. In September 2018, POET Biorefining Marion opened an expanded facility with the capacity of 80 million gallons. With this expansion, the company’s annual capacity reached 150 million gallons of clean-burning biofuel and 360,000 tons of high-protein animal feed per year.

Competition Landscape of Liquid Biofuel Market

The global liquid biofuel market is highly fragmented, with the presence of a large number of players. High capital investments, strong brand recognition, and strong position of established players pose barriers to the entry of new players operating in the global liquid biofuel market. Key players operating in the global liquid biofuel market are Fulcrum BioEnergy, Archer Daniels Midland Company, RB FUELS, POET, LLC, Cargill, Incorporated, Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited, Renewable Energy Group, Inc., Bunge, Green Biologics Limited, CropEnergies AG, Algenol, Emami Agrotech Limited, Eniven Group, World Energy Alternatives LLC, and Bio-Oils Energy.

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