The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new report on the bioeconomy, “Indicators of the U.S. Biobased Economy”, which measures substantial economic growth, job creation, and household income for the agricultural sector from biofuel and bioenergy production. Moreover, it indicates great potential for additional prosperity from future growth in renewable chemicals and biobased products. BIO, the U.S. Biotechnology Innovation Organization, calculates that the global economic value of the biobased economy – including industrial biotechnology, renewable chemicals and polymers, biofuels, enzymes and biobased materials – is $355.28 billion.
“We simply have no choice. We have to massively scale up bioenergy, and do it fast”, said Paolo Frankl, Head of the Renewable Energy Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA). “Sustainable bioenergy is an indispensable component of the necessary portfolio of low-carbon technologies in ALL climate-change mitigation scenarios”, said Frankl, based on the findings of a key upcoming report on the matter. “And there is a major, major gap between what we need and what is happening today in terms of the speed of deployment and the scale of investments in bioenergy”. The declarations were made as part of the Biofuture Summit, the first major conference of the Biofuture Platform, a coalition of twenty country governments, industry and the research community launched in November 2016 during UNFCCC COP23 in Marrakesh, aimed at the development of a modern, sustainable, low-carbon bioeconomy.
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies and the UK Government. launched a new biomass feedstock improvement process project which aims to show how the removal of impurities and contaminated material from sustainable biomass could make bioenergy cheaper and more efficient, consequently delivering better greenhouse gas savings.
The Energy Technologies Institute is seeking partners for a new bioenergy project which aims to improve understanding of the future of biomass logistics in the UK.
The ETI is a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies, such as BP and Shell, and the UK Government. Its role is to act as a conduit between academia, industry and the government to accelerate the development of low carbon technologies. It brings together engineering projects that develop affordable, secure and sustainable technologies to help the UK address its long term emissions reductions targets as well as delivering nearer term benefits.
“They are on a journey of no return anyway. They are a “mining” industry, and all mines eventually become exhausted. The question is whether some or all of the petrochemical industry will realize this fact and act to change their feedstocks and practices so that their businesses can continue long term based on sustainable feedstocks and sustainable practices.” To say it – in this exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Bruce E. Dale, a highly-ranked academic in the Top 100 People in Bioenergy (Bioenergy Digest). Professor Dale received his doctorate in chemical engineering from Purdue University in 1979. He is currently University Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. He serves as Editor in Chief and Founding Editor of Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining. Dale has won the Charles D. Scott Award (1996), the Sterling Hendricks Award (2007) and the Award of Excellence of the Fuel Ethanol Workshop (2011). He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2011) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (2016).
His research interests are cellulosic biofuels, the relationship between energy and societal wealth, life cycle assessment and the design of sustainable systems for producing fuels, chemicals, food and animal feed.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
We receive and publish with pleasure this comment by James Cogan. He is a technology, industry and policy analyst collaborating with PNO Innovation in Brussels and with a number of public and private organisations with stakes in the future of biofuels and transport energy. In the run up to the climate emergency conference in Paris he has been considering the options open to the designers of the new European governance system for climate and energy and to the 28 teams charged with creating member state climate and energy plans for publication by 2018. We are glad to promote the debate.
“At a time when carbon emissions should be dropping by 40%-80% EU transport emissions will actually increase by that amount, becoming the number one EU contributor to catastrophic global warming.
Transport emissions can only be reduced in the 2030 timeframe by traffic efficiencies, biofuels and lower tailpipe emissions. To date the EU has not taken bold measures to pursue such avenues and any gains have been offset many times over by traffic growth. Electric vehicles comprise only a miniscule fraction of the EU vehicle fleet, sales are under 1% and even the most optimistic forecasts for sales growth would not lead to an impact until well after 2040.
As part of the 2nd Annual Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum, a new multi-stakeholder coalition, co-chaired by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), announced last week its intention to speed up the development and deployment of sustainable bioenergy in order to contribute to meeting the SE4ALL goals of doubling the global use of renewable energy and ensuring universal energy access by 2030.
ENI goes green. Oil giant reached an agreement with labour unions and Sicilian authorities on upgrading its oil refinery near the town of Gela to make it environmentally friendly. Under the deal ENI will invest 2.2 billion euros in the 60-year-old refinery to make it eco-friendly.
The European Union will need a new political framework for rolling out its bio-based economy by 2020 at the latest. The existing framework does not create sufficient market pull for implementing innovative, bio-based technologies. To say it are Michael Carus, Lara Dammer and Roland Essel in the latest policy paper of nova-Institute “Options for Designing a New Political Framework of the European Bio-based Economy – nova-Institute’s contribution to the current debate”.
The European Environment Agency has published the Report “EU bioenergy from a resource efficiency perspective”. The report primarily looks at the potential for energy from agricultural land, although it includes forest and waste biomass in the overall analysis (Bioenergy refers to energy uses of any kind of biomass, whether for heating, power generation or transport).