An EU Biofuels Proposal Worth Getting Behind
by James Cogan (Biofuels Digest) Europe’s bioethanol association ePure just released a renewables policy paper that’s something to get excited about.
It’s a show of confidence and ambition on the part of Europe’s ethanol CEOs. Their product delivers climate and bioeconomy benefits, it doesn’t come with adverse side effects and it is worth fighting for.
Current 2015 EU ethanol sector output of 5.8 billion litres equates to 3 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe).
The new ePure scenario proposes 6.5 Mtoe of ILUC compliant conventional ethanol plus 2.5 Mtoe of advanced for 2030 (or whenever practicable), which is 9Mtoe. This is virtually a “growth parity” vision, with conventional and second generation varieties sharing roughly similar growth volumes, taking a big chunk out of fossil petrol and making sure lots of fossil carbon stays where it belongs.
Ethanol in Europe is currently yielding 65% certified average greenhouse gas savings over oil, and on a trajectory to 100% by 2030. So blended E20 will yield at least a 15% carbon savings in the entire petrol sector (11%-12% in the fuel itself and 4%-6% in engine efficiency) which is a hell of a long way towards the 16%-18% ambition being discussed for transport generally in Europe as part of the 2030 goals. All the more so as no other measure is going to make anything close to this level of impact for at least another two decades.
So now it’s up to bioeconomy advocates everywhere to get with the ePure programme and bring about that pivot in the regulatory trajectory.
First up, on October 17 there’s a meeting of the Environment Council, the EU club of 28 Ministers for the Environment. It has the job of receiving and reacting to the Commission’s July 20 Strategy on Low Emissions Mobility. It should be sending the Strategy right back to the Commission requesting inclusion of the 20% ethanol volume scenario, along with an ILUC compliancy framework to doubly confirm no forests or peatlands will be harmed in the process. If the 20% fails the regulator’s subsequent impact assessment, then so be it. But it won’t fail. Ethanol is safe.
The Council may want to add while they are at it, that the entire July 20 Strategy is a non-Strategy by any measure: it’s short on ambition, vision, targets or means and does nothing to improve what there is currently. The Commission has had years to prepare this. It must do better. READ MORE