Oil crops in biofuel applications: South Africa gearing up for a bio-based economy

18 January 2011

Large fluctuations in crude oil prices and the diminishing oil supply have left economies vulnerable to energy shortages thus placing an enormous pressure on nations around the world to seriously consider alternative renewable resources as feedstock in biofuel applications. Apart from energy security reasons, biofuels offer other advantages over their petroleum counterparts in that they contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and to sustainable development. Just a few decades after discontinuing its large scale production of bioethanol for use as engine fuel, South Africa (SA) is again on its way to resuscitating its biofuel industry. Herein an overview is presented on South Africa’s oilseed and biofuel production, biofuels industrial strategy, industry readiness, challenges in switching to biofuels and the strategies to overcome potential obstacles.