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Proposed land use rules will “penalise biofuels producers in Europe” warns European Biomass Association

The European Commission (EC) is preparing new rules on indirect land use change (ILUC) for the biofuels sector, but the current draft, if adopted, will have a number of negative impacts on biofuels sector, according to the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM).

The EC draft changes the EU target for crop based biofuels and bioliquids from a minimum 10% to maximum 5% target, as percentage of renewable energy in transport. The draft, if left unchanged, would introduce a multiplication factor from 2 to 4 for some wastes and residues. For biofuels production, the draft requires 60% CO2 savings for new biofuels installations. In addition, there would be no bonus for degraded land anymore.

“ILUC rules will penalise biofuels producers and companies in Europe for actions they cannot influence,” says AEBIOM in a statement today. “Moreover, with the proposed ILUC-emissions, biofuels produced from European feedstock will hardly be able to reach the CO2-mitigation target whereas additional advantages would be given to bioethanol from sugar cane.”

The draft ILUC rules would have the “exact opposite” results of those intended, the association claims. “In reality, the import of biofuels would increase which would lead to an intensification of biofuels production in third countries.”

The 5% biofuels target is already fulfilled in most EU countries, so the EC proposal would effectively mean a complete stop of any development of the crop based biofuels sector. “If we use residues and waste-based fuels, the 5% remaining target, accounted 4 times due to an increased multiplication factor, would in reality mean 1.25% of real biofuels,” says AEBIOM. “This will not only manipulate statistics significantly, but will also fail to set any economic incentive for the industry to develop innovative technologies and invest into this market segment due to the lower market volume.”

The increased multiplication factor, it goes on, will create ‘virtual’ renewable energy - energy counted in statistics for the target but non-existing in reality.

Meantime, according to the EC draft, after 2020, biofuels should only be subsidised if they lead to substantial greenhouse gas savings and are not produced from crops used for food and feed. “It is worth to note that biofuels production yields valuable by-products (around 40-60%) which are used for animal feed and thus help to avoid imports from and land use changes in Brazil and Argentina,” stresses AEBIOM. “Furthermore, it provides Europe with its own production for animal feed and biofuels resulting in an increased number of jobs in rural areas.”

The ILUC rule changes will impact national legislation and plans. AEBIOM points out that just a few days ago, the Austrian government postponed the implementation of E10 in the country, which was planned for 1 October 2012. “The European biofuels industry has already made huge investments based on the EU RES target of 10% in transport sector,” says the association. “It will result in stranded costs for the biofuels industry.”

In order to avoid possible indirect land use change, “a sound, severe and monitored environmental policy is needed in the countries with a high risk of a “negative” land use change, e.g. deforestation combined with good governance”, it adds. 

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Comments

ANUMAKONDA JAGADEESH said

22 September 2012
The best way is to grow Agave for biofuel and Opuntia fro Biogas and then for power production as both will growe in wastrelands and regeneate also.

This way the pressure on food crops like corn,Dugar will be lessened.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

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