Biofuels are renewable fuels that can be blended into petrol and diesel. They are a valuable part of the energy mix as a lower-cost way to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the transport sector, provided that their production is managed in a responsible way.
Most biofuels are produced from corn, sugar cane or vegetable oils. Some emit significantly less CO2 compared with conventional fuel. But this depends on several factors, such as how the raw materials are produced. There are also concerns about labour rights, over using land to grow fuel instead of food, and about using too much water in the production process.
Shell produces one of the lowest-CO2 biofuels available today through our joint venture Raízen, which makes ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil. This biofuel can reduce CO2 emissions by around 70% compared with petrol when produced in Brazil. Raízen now ranks as one of the world's largest producers of biofuels.
Raízen’s production process is designed to minimise its environmental footprint. By-products are recycled as natural fertilisers, and waste sugar cane fibres are used as fuel to generate electricity for the mills. The mills reduce water consumption by using rainfall to water the crops and by recycling water during production.
Raízen was the first company to certify a sugar cane mill using the Bonsucro sustainability standard in 2011. Bonsucro is a robust standard that certifies sugar cane globally for its social and environmental criteria. Thirteen of its 24 sugar-cane mills are Bonsucro certified.