H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S E V E N
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
How important a role will
biofuels play in future
The EBTP supports the European alternative
fuels strategy that was launched in 2013 by the
European Commission. The EU institution’s
communication sets out a comprehensive
alternative fuels strategy and the road to its
implementation, covering all modes of
transport. It aims at establishing a long term
policy framework to guide technological
development and investments in the
deployment of these fuels and give confidence
The strategy states: ‘For certain modes of
transport, in particular long distance road
freight and aviation, limited alternatives are
available. There is no single fuel solution for the
future of mobility and all main alternative fuel
options must be pursued, with a focus on the
needs of each transport mode.
‘A strategic approach for the Union to meet the
long term needs of all transport modes must
therefore build on a comprehensive mix of
alternative fuels. All options need to be
included in the strategy without giving
preference to any particular fuel, thereby
keeping technology neutrality.’
Among alternative fuels, advanced biofuels are
the best to fulfil the criteria of renewability and
low fossil carbon content. Market introduction will
be easiest for biofuels that are fully fungible, i.e.
can be easily blended with fuels currently on the
market. However, there are also opportunities for
niche value chains that can be successfully
exploited in a more distributed manner, where
there is a favourable combination of feedstock,
for example forestry/paper mill residues and
end use, e.g. freight fleets.
The winning options will be the pathways that best
address combined strategic and sustainability
targets: environmental performances, security
and diversification of energy supply, economic
competitiveness and public acceptance.
diversifying opportunities for the farming communities and
create/maintain green jobs in rural areas.
The main challenges facing the biomass supply generally and the
provision of energy crops are: supplying diverse markets and consumer
needs (bio-cascading solutions); expanding feedstock supplies including
sustainable trade; meeting the quality requirements of the processes
through improved certification; and maximising yield per unit area by
minimising negative environmental impacts.
EBTP considers energy crops as part of the mix for the security of
biomass supply to the sector, and as such supports actions that
maximise synergies in the forest and agricultural industries, as well as
developing optimal patterns for the use of raw material accounting for
all markets and end products. A positive and reliable policy and market
framework would be desirable, as the technologies and the feedstock
are already available.
How can the development of biofuels be appropriately
balanced with growing food in Europe?
In order to prevent too much farmland/crops from being devoted to
biofuel production instead of food, the EU opted to promote the use of
wastes, residues and lignocellulosic material by making biofuels derived
from these feedstocks count for double their real energy value.
In theory, there is enough land available to feed a growing population
and allow the production of renewable energies without any conflicts.
Many losses occur during food production, processing or handling and
cause food shortage in some regions of the world. A set of measures,
such as supply with modern inputs, improved facilities for the storage of
the harvests to avoid losses, improved access to markets, better
extension services, more research to increase the production per hectare
as well as education and training, need to be implemented in such
regions. In Europe, biofuels for transport are part of an important strategy
to improve fuel security and independency, mitigate climate change and
support rural development.
B R OW S Ewww.biofuelstp.eu
H O R I Z O N
2 0 2 0
Balancing land use
between growing food
and the production of
should be possible,
says the EBTP