Despite recent challenges of financing and debate about overall greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits, global biofuels demand is still projected to grow by an impressive 133% by 2020, primarily by government policies and market mandates. However, given the current state of the market, biofuels supply will be short by more than 32 billion liters (8.5 billion gallons) over the same period, according to Hart Energy Consulting.

These are the results of Hart's newly released annual Global Biofuels Outlook, 2010-2020: Projecting Market Demand by Country, Region and Globally. (Download the PDF.) The study captures the biofuels supply and demand picture in 35 countries, in four key global regions.

"Many countries are projected to find themselves with a supply deficit for ethanol and biodiesel by 2020," says Tammy Klein, assistant vice president, Hart Energy Consulting, and global study leader. "This deficit is worse for ethanol than for biodiesel.” Hart projects that the global supply may be short 19 billion liters (5 billion gallons) for ethanol, and 13 billion liters (3.4 billion gallons) for biodiesel by 2020.

Meantime, demand for biofuels is expected to grow through 2020 driven by public policies requiring biofuels blending. "We actually see the biofuels supply deficit begin to appear around the 2015 time frame," says Klein.

Leading the way in global ethanol demand expansion are Brazil and the U.S., followed by China, Japan, the UK and Germany. "With its favorable GHG profile, these countries will primarily look to Brazilian advanced sugarcane bio-ethanol for supply, especially given the global context of tightening GHG limits – and limited commercial volumes of cellulosic ethanol," says Frederick L. Potter, Hart Energy executive vice president. "Obligated parties in the U.S. will find themselves competing for these volumes as never before. We expect this to lead to continued price appreciation for sugarcane ethanol over the 2011-2020 period."