Industry Split Emerges over Biofuels’ Indirect Impact
by Charlie Dunmore (Reuters) European bioethanol producers have broken ranks and urged EU policymakers to introduce rules on the indirect climate impacts of biofuels that distinguish between “good and bad biofuel pathways,” Reuters has learned.
…In a letter to the EU’s top climate and energy officials seen by Reuters, bioethanol industry body ePURE said it backs the introduction of EU rules that address ILUC directly.
A direct approach that penalizes crop-specific biofuels for their indirect side-effects could wipe out much of Europe’s estimated 13 billion euro-a-year ($17.3 billion) biodiesel sector.
“ePURE will support a policy that… differentiates between good and bad biofuel pathways (and) addresses ILUC directly,” said the letter sent to EU energy chief Guenther Oettinger and climate chief Connie Hedegaard in July.
…Four draft EU studies showed earlier this year that biodiesel produced from European rapeseed, Asian palm oil and South American soy beans all have a bigger overall climate impact than normal diesel when ILUC emissions are taken into account.
By contrast, the studies found that ILUC emissions were much lower for bioethanol produced from corn, wheat and sugarcane, as well as next-generation biofuels produced from non-food sources such as straw and other farm residues.
“It is encouraging to see that companies that make better biofuels are starting to recognize that a scientifically credible biofuels policy can actually help them instead of harm them,” said Nusa Urbancic of green transport campaigners T&E.
…If EU rules penalize individual biofuels for their specific ILUC emissions, ePURE members such as Spanish ethanol producer Abengoa and Danish enzymes producer Novozymes stand to benefit at the expense of biodiesel producers. READ MORE