Low carbon future needs low carbon fuel

An article published in the October 22 issue of Science Magazine wrongly accuses the biofuels industry of being responsible for deforestation.

The article in Science Magazine suggests that proposed international climate-change measures have a "fixable flaw" of not including direct and indirect carbon emissions from bioenergy. Hence, the authors claim that biofuels will be responsible for deforestation as land is cleared to grow energy crops.

 

But the authors ignore the current RED regulation in the EU and the EPA and CARB regulations in the US. These policies factor in direct land management impacts for biofuels, meaning that producers of biofuels must document that their products are produced in a sustainable fashion.

 

“The article in Science overlooks one important fact: Biofuels recycle atmospheric carbon while fossil fuels release carbon that has been stored underground for millions of years. In the transport sector, biofuels are the only viable alternative to fossil fuels on the short and medium term. Advanced biofuels made from waste holds the potential to reduce CO2 emissions with 90% compared to gasoline,” says Novozymes sustainability expert Karen Margrethe Oxenbøll.

 

No regulation for bio-electricity

While regulation is in place for biofuels, there is no regulation or criteria when the biomass is used for electricity. Novozymes recommends that the criteria used for biofuels are applied to all bioenergy production as well as for estimating the impact of the alternative, fossil fuels.

 

“The environmental impacts of the world's energy supply need to be considered, but there should be a fair playing field where biofuels, bioelectricity and fossil fuels are judged by the same metrics when counting emissions. There should be a full accounting of the carbon emissions of all fuels, not just ethanol,” says Novozymes Director of Public Affairs Fleming Voetmann.

 

Novozymes supports The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuel, an international initiative to ensure the harmonization among national regulations, both economically and through active participation in the workgroup engaged in the development of principles for the measurement of greenhouse gases.