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S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
Commission does not include any specific target for the transport sector,
and thus no incentives for biofuels. The transport sector, as a whole, is
one of the areas that will be tackled within the European Energy Union
framework. It shall ensure secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy
in the future.
It will take time for the different EU member states to react and develop
national strategies for the deployment of advanced biofuels. Investment
in biofuel projects, including serving debt over 10-12 years and equity
over 20 years, is not possible without guarantees of regulatory stability
of similar tenor. To achieve an investor-friendly environment, a long
term stable policy at EU and national level is needed which will lead to
a situation where renewables will eventually compete with fossil fuels.
The ongoing debate on sustainability needs to be settled by finding a
recognised standard which applies to all biomass sectors (biofuels,
other bioenergy, bioproducts, food and feed).
The main challenges to advancing biofuels today are a positive and
reliable policy and market framework until 2020 and beyond, the
access to finances for the commercialisation of new conversion
technologies that have successfully passed earlier development stages,
and the provision of secure, sustainable and long term biomass
feedstock supply. Regarding finances, the InnovFin Energy Demo
Projects facility could be a major step forward to bring innovative
technologies to the market and make them bankable.
Regarding the development of biomass, advanced biofuels based on
cellulosic feedstocks, various waste streams and algae have a large
potential in the future. The biomass feedstock situation across the
EU is very diverse, and different policies exist on promotion of
biofuels. This creates differentiated economic values for the same
products across EU member states and because of this, and the fact
that corresponding regulations are not yet stable, it is not possible
to point directly at priority technologies whose development would
ensure that the 10% target can be met.
Energy crops produced under sustainable practices can provide an
important contribution. More specifically, perennial lignocellulosic species
can be grown on average on lower quality land and could actually help
to ‘remove’ the seasonality burden of residual feedstocks in a region.
Additionally, energy crops can add value to local economies by
How is the EBTP influencing the
direction of Horizon 2020?
The ongoing structured dialogue between the
EBTP and the Commission, in particular DG
Research and Innovation and DG Energy, allows
a unique exchange of information on biofuels
policy and technological development.
Recommendations by EBTP, direct or via
discussions in the EIBI, have been incorporated
in the Horizon 2020 work programme priorities
on a reasonable scale.
What are the EBTP’s thoughts on
the Bio-Based Industries Joint
Undertaking (BBI JU)?
The BBI JU is a key group for the EU’s
bioeconomy, biorefineries and the promotion
of research, development and demonstration
in the forthcoming years; it contributes to a
good interaction between the Commission
and the EU member states. Partnerships
within the bioeconomy sector are essential
for EU leadership in globally competitive
The EBTP welcomes the initiative, which
includes industry and their technology
development; other European Technology
Platforms are involved as associate members
within the BBI. As some members of the EBTP
Steering Committee are also involved in the BBI
JU consortium, an associated membership on
behalf of the EBTP wasn’t deemed necessary.
So far, the Horizon 2020 budget for the BBI JU
stems from the bioeconomy proportion, rather
than energy, and the results of the first call for
proposals have only been partly published.
Announced so far is UPM’s ‘Value added
chemical building blocks and lignin from wood’,
or ValChem, project, which combines the
competences of the forest, chemical and
biotechnology industries to realise a sustainable
and innovative integrated process from wood
to end products; this venture has received
€13.1m in funding. EBTP sees a number of
significant synergies of advanced biofuels and
the scope of the BBI JU.
What are the challenges in
increasing the uptake of these
EU policy has a significant influence on
national policies, and consequently on the
funding and development of advanced
biofuels; any uncertainty is seen as an
obstacle. The discussion about iLUC has finally
been settled, but the 2030 Climate and Energy
Framework proposal from the European
The EBTP has worked
closely with the
and EU member states
to help shape the