EU Steps up to Renewable Commitment

New EU strategies intended to shift the European economy towards greater and more sustainable use of renewable resources have been welcomed by the industry, writes TheBioenergySite Editor, Gemma Hyland.
Gemma Hyland, Editor

The European Commission’s strategy and action plan, “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe”, outlines a coherent, cross-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approach to the issue.

“Europe needs to make the transition to a post-petroleum economy. Greater use of renewable resources is no longer just an option, it is a necessity. We must drive the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based society with research and innovation as the motor. This is good for our environment, our food and energy security, and for Europe’s competitiveness for the future,” said Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn at the launch of the strategy.

New research suggests that if production efficiency continues to improve, the cost of some biofuels could be similar to that of conventional jet fuel by 2018.

However, the study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance also showed that airlines might end up using only a modest proportion of biofuels (2 per cent or less) in their fuel mix in the next few years.

By 2018, biofuels made from the hydro-treatment of non-food vegetable oils like jatropha or camelina, or from the pyrolysis of cellulosic feedstocks, should be the first types to become properly competitive after the move to large-scale production. Jatropha, for example, has the potential to produce jet fuel at $0.86 (€0.65) per litre by 2018.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) has announced the first completed commercial certification of the Manildra Group, Australia.

Through its subsidiary Shoalhaven Starches Pty Ltd, the Manildra Group produces bioethanol from starchy wastewater generated by their wheat-processing facility.

The certification, conducted by NCS International, serves to prove sustainable biofuels may be efficiently and economically produced at a large scale while adhering to ambitious social and environmental standards.

“Several other operations around the world are currently in the audit process and are expected to follow Manildra in paving the way towards biofuels that deliver on their sustainability promises” says Peter Ryus, CEO of RSB Services Foundation. “The RSB Global Sustainability Standard has been broadly accepted as the reference for responsible biofuel production.”