European advanced biofuels industry calls for action on ILUC

Guido Ghisolfi, Ceo of Biochemtex, member of LSP

Leaders of Sustainable Biofuels, an industry coalition to promote advanced biofuels, yesterday met stakeholders at the European Parliament in Brussels to urge for a tough EU-wide sub-target for advanced biofuels in the context of ILUC (indirect land use change) directive.

What is ILUC? When biofuels are produced on existing agricultural land, the demand for food and feed crops remains, and may lead to someone producing more food and feed somewhere else. This can imply land use change (by changing e.g. forest into agricultural land), which implies that a substantial amount of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere. 

“The 40% target of greenhouse gas reduction cannot be achieved without a strong contribution from the transport sector – biofuels will be an essential part of this challenge”, Director Marie Donnelly from the European Commission DG Energy emphasized the role of biofuels.

The key note speaker, member of the European Parliament Nils Torvalds, rapporteur of the ILUC dossier at the European Parliament, commented on the need to holistic and long-term approach:  “We need to build a bridge from ILUC debate towards 2030 policy of reducing transport emissions. The industry needs long term security”.

“The industry feels this type of dialogue is essential. We feel there is too little understanding on the opportunities of advanced biofuels. Climate action, energy security and innovation are key topics in the EU today. We want to contribute to the debate by showing that advanced biofuels can play an integral part of Europe’s energy mix and our joint efforts to reduce transport emissions”, said Marko Janhunen, chair of LSB and Vice President at UPM Biorefining.

“Hundreds of millions of euros has been spent in Europe on research to develop technologies for advanced biofuels. However, now that the time is ripe for commercialization of new technologies, the lack of regulatory certainty is holding back investment in these areas. As the rest of the world is moving forward with investment, the US and China in particular, we are shooting ourselves in the foot by not creating the right conditions for investments to materialize”, Janhunen added.

According to the Vice President of the Finnish company, “the European Parliament now has a great opportunity to move things forward. By promoting the sub-target for advanced biofuels and making it more binding, and also by ensuring that policy measures go beyond 2020, we trust that investor confidence can be gained”, Janhunen concluded.

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