Biofuel Industry News

  • The EU needs to get a better understanding of indirect emissions from biofuels

Indirect emissions to be included in EU biofuels policy?

Apr 19 2013 Read 32556 Times

Indirect emissions should be included in European biofuels policy, a member of the European parliament has said.

Proposed amendments to the EU’s biofuels policy could see distinctions made between fuels on the basis of their potential impact on the environment.

However, French MEP Corinne Lepage has said that sustainability criteria should be introduced in order to get a more comprehensive idea of how different fuels could impact on the climate.

A report by the European politician noted that some studies of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) factors indicate that growing crops for energy displaces agricultural production, seeing farmers clear forests, grasslands and wetlands for the purposes of food production.

These areas have high carbon stores, it was noted, and when cleared these can be released into the atmosphere, thereby outweighing the carbon savings that are generated by the use of the fuel.

However, many people in the biofuel industry disputed the ILUC emission estimates, claiming that improved productivity, as well as the fact that by-products from biofuel production can be used as animal feed, negates the impact of the industry on land.

While the EU rejected calls to introduce ILUC measures into its biofuels policy last year, Lepage believes there is good enough reason to include these emissions estimates in the regulations.

According to the expert, sustainability criteria should be included in order to differentiate between fuels’ ILUC-related impacts on climate. This would likely see biodiesel classed as a high carbon fuel - changing the way it is viewed in the industry.

Eric Gall, a spokesman for Lepage, told news agency EurActiv: "Obviously ethanol will benefit from the introduction of ILUC factors as they have lower values and biodiesel and feedstocks used for them might not meet the sustainability criteria anymore.”

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