Greenhouse gas balances of transportation biofuels, electricity and heat generation in Finland-Dealing with the uncertainties

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • S. Soimakallio
  • Tuula Mäkinen
  • Tommi Ekholm

  • K. Pahkala
  • Hannu Mikkola
  • Teuvo Paappanen

Research units

  • MTT Agrifood Research Finland
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland


One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector is to replace fossil fuels by biofuels. However, production of biofuels also generates greenhouse gas emissions. Energy and greenhouse gas balances of transportation biofuels suitable for large-scale production in Finland have been assessed in this paper. In addition, the use of raw materials in electricity and/or heat production has been considered. The overall auxiliary energy input per energy content of fuel in biofuel production was 3-5-fold compared to that of fossil fuels. The results indicated that greenhouse gas emissions from the production and use of barley-based ethanol or biodiesel from turnip rape are very probably higher compared to fossil fuels. Second generation biofuels produced using forestry residues or reed canary grass as raw materials seem to be more favourable in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, the use of raw materials in electricity and/or heat production is even more favourable. Significant uncertainties are involved in the results mainly due to the uncertainty of N2O emissions from fertilisation and emissions from the production of the electricity consumed or replaced.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Emission reduction, Greenhouse gases (GHG), Liquid biofuels

ID: 15990443