Sustainable biofuels key to a low-carbon future

At a policy briefing in Brussels today organized by Novozymes, the International Energy Agency (IEA) presented its recently completed Technology Roadmap Biofuels for Transport alongside speakers from WWF and the European Commission.

The discussion showed that biofuels are a key carbon mitigation technology and can expand in a sustainable way, provided that a series of actions are taken by policy-makers over the next 10 years. 

Biofuels can provide up to 27% of world transportation fuel by 2050, delivering significant CO2 emission savings when produced sustainably. The IEA Roadmap on Biofuels highlights that efficient technologies are needed to achieve this objective and that advanced biofuel technologies will play a key role.
 
The challenge is to develop and implement a framework guaranteeing that the production of biofuels is expanded in a sustainable way. The use of long-term policy frameworks, support mechanisms for advanced biofuels, and the implementation of global sustainability criteria feature prominently in the roadmap.
 
The IEA considers political statements and analytical work must be turned into concrete actions today These concrete actions include the creation of a long-term policy framework for biofuels, continuous R&D and demonstration support for advanced biofuels, and the adoption of sound internationally agreed sustainability standards. Moreover, it is key to link economic incentives to sustainability performance of biofuels and incentivize the use of wastes and residues.

Job creation, energy security, and CO2 reductions
At today’s briefing, representatives from the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, and Member State officials had the opportunity to discuss the IEA vision and implications for the EU biofuel policy with representatives from the industry and civil society. Participants welcomed the roadmap insofar as it provides assurance of the importance of biofuels in a low-carbon economy.

“We need a biofuel vision beyond 2020, and we need it to be ambitious and sustainable,” said Lars Hansen, Regional President for Europe at Novozymes, world leader in bioinnovation and industrial enzymes.

“Political action is now required to enable best-performing biofuels to reach market deployment in Europe. As far as advanced biofuels are concerned, the technology is available and proven. Bridging the gap from demonstration to deployment is always challenging. Concrete support is necessary to unlock the potential of biofuel technologies today and benefit from their societal advantages in terms of job creation, energy security, and greenhouse gas emission reduction.”

“Biofuels, if done sustainably and used efficiently, can be in important part of our energy mix. WWF sees a future for them particularly in aviation, shipping and heavy trucks. The demand can be met partly from residues and waste products, and partly from dedicated energy crops grown on land not needed for other uses. This will require careful land-use planning and better international cooperation and governance to ensure sustainability,” concluded Jason Anderson, Head of European Energy and Climate Policy, WWF.