Unlocking the power of renewable fuels for a more sustainable future

As the world moves towards more sustainable fuel sources, rewable fuels have emerged as a promising alternative to traditional fossil fuels. In this article, we will explore what renewable fuel is and the benefits it offers for a cleaner environment. Read on to unlock the power of biofuels for a more sustainable future.

What is a renewable fuel?

Renewable fuels are produced from organic material, such as plant matter, animal fats or waste products. Bioethanol and biodiesel are two of the most common types of renewable biofuels used in transportation. Bioethanol is made by fermenting sugars derived from crops like corn or sugar cane, while biodiesel is produced through a chemical process that converts vegetable oils or animal fats into a diesel substitute. One of the main advantages of using biofuels over traditional fossil fuels is their lower carbon emissions and reduced impact on air quality.


In addition to being more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels, another advantage of using renewable biofuels is their potential for reducing dependence on foreign oil sources. They can also provide economic benefits by creating jobs in sectors such as agriculture and energy production. However, it's important to note that there are also potential negative environmental impacts associated with certain types of biofuel production methods, such as deforestation for crop cultivation or fertilizers release during farming practices for crops grown specifically for fuel purposes.


Types of renewable fuels

Renewable fuels are derived from organic matter such as plants and animals, carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, making them an eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. There are several types of biofuels available today, including:

  • Bioethanol: made from fermenting sugar and starch crops such as corn, sugarcane or wheat. It is used primarily as a gasoline substitute in the transportation sector.
  • Biodiesel: made from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant grease. This biofuel is commonly blended with diesel fuel for use in diesel engines.
  • Biogas: produced by anaerobic digestion of organic matter like agricultural waste or sewage. It can be burned to generate electricity or used as a fuel for vehicles. You can read more about biomethane, below.
  • Electrofuels, also known as e-fuels, a class of s bio-synthetic fuels, are a type of drop-in replacement fuel for existing fossil-based fuels. They are manufactured using captured carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, together with hydrogen obtained from sustainable electricity sources such as wind, solar and nuclear power. Such fuels have the potential to reduce emissions significantly, while being suitable for combustion engine applications.


Renewable fuels offer numerous benefits over conventional fuels, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality. As the world moves towards more sustainable and eco-friendly practices, these fuels provide a promising solution for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels while meeting our energy needs.

Economic benefits

Biofuels have numerous economic benefits that make them a valuable alternative to traditional fossil fuels. Some of these benefits include:


  • Potential for cost savings compared to traditional fossil fuels: Biofuels can often be produced at a lower cost than conventional fuels, making them an attractive option for businesses and consumers looking to save money on energy expenses.
  • Creation of new job opportunities within the biofuel industry: As demand for biofuels increases, so does the need for workers in fields such as agriculture, engineering, and transportation.
  • Increased energy security and independence from foreign oil markets: Because many biofuels are produced locally or domestically, they can help reduce dependence on imported oil and increase national energy security.


By utilizing biofuels instead of traditional fossil fuels, companies in the automotive industry can not only contribute towards sustainable practices but also reap various economic benefits that support their bottom line.

Volvo Group's three-pronged approach

Alongside providing alternative ways to move a vehicle or power a piece of equipment with zero tailpipe emissions – namely, rechargeable batteries or electricity-generating, hydrogen-powered fuel cells – there needs to be a sustainable solution that uses existing technology. In this case, that technology is the internal combustion engine. Because in order to make real change, innovation needs to be accessible as well as sustainable.


In this respect, biofuels present us with a great quick win – a way to reduce emissions immediately while electrification continues to be developed. Currently, more than 50% of all heavy-duty transportation could be electrified – so, biofuels represent a sustainable solution for those haulers that still cannot solve their transport application with battery or hydrogen electric, for reasons like load, distance, infrastructure or charging times. Additionally, not all transportation will be electric in the future, and electrification of the entire fleet will take time.


We’re committed to helping our customers run their businesses in the same kind of way they’re doing now, should they wish to – in a safe, sustainable, and more productive way. Whatever that business looks like. So for many, non-fossil fuels which can make the internal combustion engine more sustainable are a great way forward – and one which can be adopted quickly.

Learn more about our Sustainable Solutions

Learn about battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies

Discover our broad range of battery electric trucks, buses, and construction equipment

At Volvo Group we believe that battery electric vehicles will be a vital part of our future transportation, mobility and construction systems.

You can learn more about our approach to battery electric vehicles by clicking on the images below.

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