Published Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Waste-based biofuels sector needs smarter EU 2030 package to realize its high potential 

Research by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the NNFCC in conjunction with the European Climate Foundation (ECF), IEEP and other partners found that Europe has significant potential for converting biomass waste to advanced low-carbon biofuels. Energy from wastes from farming, forestry, industry and households could provide an alternative to climate damaging fossil fuels. The technical potential of biofuels from these wastes would be equal to 16 per cent of road transport fuel demand in 2030.

The report, entitled “Wasted: Europe’s Untapped Resource”, was reviewed by IEEP’s David Baldock, Ben Allen and Bettina Kretschmer and outlines the importance of a solid policy framework and proper implementation. Uncertainty about EU policy, particularly regarding the decarbonisation of transport fuels, could prevent innovative technologies from reaching their full potential. The project found that if all sustainable waste from farms, forests, households and industry were used for transport fuels, there could be sufficient fuel to displace about 37 million tonnes of oil annually by 2030. A robust sustainability framework and ambitious decarbonisation targets for transport fuels in 2030 are necessary to ensure efficient waste utilisation and the long-term reduction of transport emissions.

IEEP Director David Baldock explained: “It is clear that a significant potential exists for using wastes and residues to deliver low carbon advanced biofuels. With a shared resource base between energy and other uses, the future bio-economy relies on our ability to take a more strategic approach to the use of biomass. Setting sustainability standards is a key step in unlocking the real potential that exists from waste and residue resources.”