“Supply push” or “demand pull?”: Strategic recommendations for the responsible development of biofuel in China

Significance Statement

This paper is the first piece of joint research outcome led by Dr. Jingzheng REN and Dr. Liang DONG, with members from the research team of “Urban Planning and Sustainable Development”, newly established by Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology (led by Prof. Zhiqiu Gao and Assistant Prof. Hanwei Liang), as well as the research team of Low-carbon Development and Climate Change Adaption in University of Southern Denmark  (led by the chief scientist of Climate Change Adaptation, Prof. Michael Evan Goodsite and Low-carbon energy strategy expert, Assistant Professor Jingzheng Ren). The author team also includes the top Energy Policy expert, Prof. Benjamin K. Sovacool from Aarhus University, Prof. Lichun Dong from Chongqing University, Dr. Xiao Luo from Tongji University, Mr. Lu Sun from National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan. The Urban Planning and Sustainable Development research team is formed by Prof. Zhiqiu Gao, the dean of School of Geography and Remote Sensing, NUIST, the core members includes Jingzheng Ren, Liang Dong, and Assistant Professor Hanwei Liang.

This study integrated SWOT analysis and Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process (FAHP) to analyze the status of biofuel industry in China, prioritized the factors affecting its development, and innovatively proposed a variety of strategic recommendations, falling across both “supply push” and “demand pull” approaches, to encourage its sustainable growth—to make it lean and green. According to SWOT analysis, four types of strategic recommendations were presented: SO strategies, WO strategies, ST strategies and WT strategies. Subsequently, FAHP was used to prioritize these factors in terms of their relative importance. Finally, critical implications and recommendations for Chinese stakeholders and practical players were proposed. The results of this study are helpful for those who seek to have a better understanding of the current status of China’s biofuel industry, make more informed decisions, draw potential technological roadmaps, and draft development plans. Additionally, the process of using SWOT-FAHP itself allows researchers to vary and monitor the affecting factors according to the linguistic preferences of stakeholders and the actual social and economic conditions within a country. Therefore, our approach is able to generalize to other regions beyond China.

The Urban Planning and Sustainable Development research team of NUIST aims to carry out international cooperation to address emerging regional sustainability challenges, focusing on sustainable urban planning, complex energy and environmental systems by applying the multi-disciplinary knowledge, and further advancing the development of smart city, eco-industrial development, and circular economy in China.

Strategic recommendations for the responsible development of biofuel in China-Renewable Energy Global Innovtion

Journal Reference

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 52, December 2015, Pages 382–392.

Jingzheng Ren1,2,3, Liang Dong4, Lu Sun4, Michael Evan Goodsite2, Lichun Dong3,5, Xiao Luo6,7, Benjamin K. Sovacool8

Show Affiliations
  1. School of Geography and Remote Sensing, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  2. Department of Technology and Innovation, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
  3. School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
  4. Center for Social and Environmental System Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba-City, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
  5. Key Laboratory of Low-Grade Energy Utilization Technologies & Systems of the Ministry of Education, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
  6. College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University, No.1239, Siping road, Shanghai, China
  7. Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design Institute, No. 1111, North Zhongshan road, Shanghai, China
  8. Center for Energy Technologies, Department of Business and Technology Development, Aarhus University, Birk Centerpark 15, DK-7400 Herning, Denmark


This study investigates China׳s biofuel industry—the third largest in the world—by combining a strength, weakness, opportunity and threats (SWOT) analysis with a method known as fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP). More specifically, the study employs SWOT analysis to identify the influential factors affecting the development of the biofuel industry in China. It then prioritizes their importance using the FAHP method. The study finds that high production costs, competition with other renewable energy resources, inconsistent policy and legislation support, and poor technical standards are impeding the growth of the biofuel industry of China. The study concludes by proposing strategic recommendations for how the industry can be made both leaner, more efficient and effective, and greener, more socially and environmentally sustainable. Some of these options focuses on improving technical perform, adhering to a “supply push” mentality. Others focus on improving affordability and consumer awareness, adhering to a “demand pull” mentality

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Multidisciplinary top experts work together for promoting the sustainable development of China’s biofuel industry is featured on Renewable Energy Global Innovations the World’s leading source on renewable energy research news

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