In Switzerland, Rainer Zah has lead a research team to study sustainability issues for the Swiss Centre for Technology Assessment. The study concludes that anywhere between 10% and 40% of Swiss fuel consumption could be replaced by a combination of second generation biofuels, better vehicle fuel efficiency and electrification of the transport system.
The study states that the most environmentally friendly fuels are those based on waste products such as waste wood or green and sawmill waste, as opposed to crop based fuels from developing countries that would lead to competition between fuel and food crops and increased environmental stress. In explaining the mix, Zah states “If the available biofuels are use[d] to power long distance traffic, then we would save not just eight per cent fossil fuels but, thanks to more energy efficient vehicles, as much as fifteen per cent. And if simultaneously in our cities primarily electric vehicles were to be used whose batteries were charged using alternative energy technologies such as a solar power, then another 25 per cent fossil fuel “replacement potential” would be possible. That means in total it would be possible to replace about 40 per cent of today’s fossil fuel consumption.”
More background on the story from the Digest