EU Biofuel Standards Stir Controversy

The European Commission has set some strong biofuel standards – and calls for a moratorium begin almost immediately.

In the new standard, biofuels used in the European Union (EU) will have to save at least 35 percent in greenhouse gas emissions compared with fossil fuels. The target, which biofuel producers have until 2013 to meet, is part of the European Commission’s new sustainability guidelines for biofuels, according to a Dow Jones report.

Emissions savings varied hugely between feedstocks and production processes, according to EU calculations. For example, wheat ethanol fared worst with no benefit over fossil fuels when produced using lignite as the process fuel. But wheat ethanol using straw as the process fuel fared much better achieving 67 percent emissions savings.

Of the most commonly used biofuel, sugar cane ethanol fared best with 74 percent savings.

Some biofuel producers who use feedstocks including palm oil, wheat, and sugar beet may struggle to meet this threshold, depending on what energy source and process they use in their production, saya Rob Vierhout, secretary general of the European bioethenal group eBIO. Producers using renewable energy for their production processes are in a strong position to meet the target.

Meanwhile, a group of United Kingdom (UK) parliament members has recommended that the UK should impose a moratorium on its biofuels targets because they are jeopardizing reliable food supply in developing countries and harming the environment, according to the Oil & Gas Journal.

In a report analyzing government policy, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) recommended that the government focus on sustainable biofuels such as waste vegetable oil and improving sustainable biofuels technologies.

(Sources: Dow Jones, Oil & Gas Journal)

 

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