Environmental sustainability criteria for biofuels

01.04.2008

The European biotech industry strongly supports EU initiatives to boost the use of biofuels. EuropaBio also shares the concern of European leaders that the high use of energy stemming from fossil resources is untenable in the long term. The challenges of increasing CO2 emissions, climate change, increasing import dependence and higher energy prices all send clear signals that Europe needs to act now to deliver sustainable, secure and competitive energy. It is the opinion of EuropaBio that the only realistic alternatives today to fossil based energy for the transport sector are biofuels - such as bioethanol, biodiesel or potentially new fuels like biobutanol - produced from renewable raw materials. The advantage of biofuels is indeed that they can be blended with existing transport fuels, and that they are compatible with existing vehicles. 

Well-to-wheel assessments indicate that the use of biofuels in vehicles yield definite benefits in terms of GHG emissions compared to petroleum-based automotive fuels, although the precise amount of saved CO2 emission depends on the specific type of raw material used, the production process for the agricultural raw materials, the conversion process and several other elements. EuropaBio believes it is fundamental that the emerging biofuels sector is built on sound sustainability principles. As the main driver of the biofuels policy is to achieve environmental, societal as well as economical benefits, it will be important that the long-term political and public support will be dependent on biofuels being seen to deliver on these goals in a sustainable and a socially responsible manner. For this reason EuropaBio supports the initiative of the Commission to develop sustainability criteria for biofuels.