Evaluating the sustainability of the EU policy: “By 2020, 10% of transport fuel in the EU should be supplied from Biofuels” Introduction:
The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (RED) required a 10% share of renewable energy in the transport sector by 2020; biofuels must emit a minimum of 35% less greenhouse gases (GHG) than the fossil fuels they replace, increasing to 50% for existing plants in 2017 and 60% for new infrastructure thereafter. The Fuel Quality Directive, setting a target of a 6% GHG reduction for fuels used in the transport sector in 2020. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-1112_en.htm Biofuels are a liquid or gaseous fuel sourced directly from biological materials (biomass)(Mol, APJ 2007) http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/energy/renewable_energy/l28175_en.htm Fig 1 conveying the typical sources, conversion techniques and type of biofuel product created.
First generation biofuels are classed as crops with readily accessible sugar, starches and or oils as their feedstock i.e. food crops (corn, maize, rapeseed, sugarcane) and second generation biofuels are feedstock’s that consist of lignocellulosic biomass (agricultural and forest production wastes: corn stalks, straw, switch grass) www.dnv.com On the 17/10/12, the European Commission published a proposal to raise the climate benefits of biofuels and to acknowledge and limit global land conversion for biofuel production in the EU. The use of first generation biofuels has been limited to 5%; enabling stimulation towards the development of second generation biofuels needed to fulfil the outstanding 5%. Biofuels have become an incendiary issue recently with the environmental, economic and social sustainability impacts bringing more awareness to its development. Influencing factors such as, food vs. fuel, renewable energy regulations, technological advancement and funding, energy security vs. energy price (oil price increase), taxes and tariffs, trade distortion and traceability and certification requirements www.dnv.com OTHER REFS are areas of concern and will ultimately guide this alternative energy industry. REFERENCES Environmental Sustainability:
(UNEP Assessing Biofuels) state that biofuels should produce GHG emissions reduction compared to fossil fuels (Fig 2&3) along with a decrease in urban air pollutants (Fig 4), however this is wholly dependent on the type of feedstock, cultivation methods, conversion technology and energy efficiency (Mol APJ 2007) other factors including logistics and ILUC have to be accounted for.(Sharman, A 2010) ILUC will be considered when assessing the greenhouse gas performance of biofuels http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-1112_en.htm Fig 5 implicating the ‘serious’ consequence of ILUC when considering first generation feedstock; ranging from ̴110CO2/MJ (palm oil) to ̴ 50 CO2/MJ (sugarbeet). Williams PRD 2009 suggest that ethanol production from biochemical (greater cost reduction) and thermochemical conversion (wider range of synthetic fuels produced: aviation/marine)(Ralph EH Sims 2010) should result in GHG emission savings, however the adverse effects of this would be the increase demand on water resource (pollution), the production of solid waste streams and intensification of agriculture; producing monocultures (lack of biodiversity) of crops creating impacts of soil degradation, eutrophication and invasive plant species. The biofuels sustainability criteria in the EU policy prevent the direct conversion of forests, wetlands and areas with a high biodiversity value (high C stock) for biofuel production; welcoming innovation for second generation biofuels that are able to use the residual streams from agricultural and forest industries (Londo, M et al 2010), used cooking oil (UCO) and tallow (Thamsiriroj, T Impact of 2011) and other lignocellulosic feedstocks(Ralph EH Sims 2010). Biodiesel produced from UCO and tallow have been shown to stimulate 69% and 54% GHG emission savings overall with UCO...
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