Adoption of Biofuels for Marine Shipping Decarbonization: A Long-Term Price and Scalability Assessment

Eric Tan, Kylee Harris, Stephen Tifft, Darlene Steward, Christopher Kinchin, Thomas Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations


This study assessed the long-term annual biofuel production capacity potential and price in the United States and shed light on the prospect of biofuel adoption for marine propulsion. A linear programming model was developed to assist the projections and provide insightful analyses. The projected long-term (2040) maximum annual capacity of biofuels in the United States is 245 million metric tons (Mt) or 65 billion gallons of heavy fuel oil gallon equivalent (HFOGE) when based on the median feedstock availability. Between 2022 (near-term) and 2040, the potential biofuel capacity increases by over 40%, attributed to increased feedstock availability. At a price range up to $500/t, biodiesel is the main product, and the annual capacity (12 Mt) is limited to feedstock availability constraints. Biodiesel and corn ethanol are the main biofuels at a price range up to $750/t. At a higher price point (above $750/t), the biofuel types and annual capacities increase substantially (218 Mt per year). Biofuels above this price include gasoline-, jet-, and diesel-range blendstocks, as well as bio-methanol, bio-propane, and biogas. This study concludes that the US domestic feedstock availability coupled with advanced conversion technologies can produce substantial amounts of biofuels to achieve a critical mass and be impactful as alternative marine fuels. There is also a need to improve the biofuel price for marine shipping adoption. Policies and economic incentives that provide temporary financial support would help facilitate maritime biofuel adoption.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)942-961
Number of pages20
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining published by Society of Industrial Chemistry and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-81531


  • biorefinery
  • decarbonization
  • marine biofuels
  • renewable energy
  • scalability
  • sustainability
  • techno-economic analysis


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