Advanced biofuels require a favourable legal framework in the EU
Brussels – On 5 September 2019, many representatives from politics, industry, science, and society came together at the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union in Brussels for the workshop “Advanced Biofuels Towards Renewable Energy Transition in Europe”. The event, opened by Roland Weigert, State Secretary at the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Regional Development, and Energy, provided an ideal platform to discuss the benefits of advanced biofuels for the European economy and climate protection. The workshop was organised by Industrielle Biotechnologie Bayern Netzwerk GmbH as part of the EU research project SUNLIQUID. Distinguished panellists, such as Ylwa Alwarsdotter, Executive Vice President of Business Development at SEKAB, Prof. Andreas Hornung, Director Institute Branch Sulzbach-Rosenberg at Fraunhofer UMSICHT, or Philippe Mengal, Executive Director at Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking, confirmed that the industry has already prepared market-ready technologies in order to produce advanced climate-friendly biofuels on an industrial level. The use of these biofuels is key to reduce CO2 emissions within the European transportation sector. The common understanding of the speakers was that policy makers must therefore establish a stable framework for the industry in Europe. With the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) adopted at the end of 2018, EU member states agreed to provide significant support for expanding the use of advanced biofuels. Marko Janhunen, Director of Public Affairs at UPM, views this as a step in the right direction: “For the industry it is especially important that the REDII is transposed swiftly with sufficient ambition level. UPM welcomes the fact that many member states are starting to get serious with climate change mitigation, and are taking action to reduce transport CO2.“ REDII sets the target that renewable energy should cover 32% of total energy consumption in the EU by 2030. In the transport sector, the share of renewable fuels should be 14 % by 2030. Fixed quotas have also been set for the blending of advanced biofuels with petroleum-based fuels. From 2022, their proportion in conventional fuels must therefore be 0.2 %. An increase to 3.5% has been set for 2030.
Potential and benefits of advanced biofuels in Europe
Many EU member states have a large, untapped potential in residues and waste material that could serve as raw material for producing biofuels. Advanced biofuels are sustainable and almost climate-neutral by the use of renewable raw materials. Furthermore, advanced biofuels can be used within the existing infrastructure as they can be mixed with petroleum-based fuels for conventional combustion engines. In order to achieve the ambitious climate targets defined by the EU, all existing technologies must come to use. Policy makers must establish the necessary prerequisites on the European and national levels for making existing innovative technologies widely available on an industrial scale. Gloria Gaupmann, Head of Public Affairs, Technology & Innovation at Clariant, sees that EU member states are required to support the industry in their efforts and investments: „The Commission must keep a close watch on the member states to ensure a coherent and forceful implementation of the agreed targets. In addition, the Commission together with the EU legislators has to set the path towards 2050 where advanced biofuels should finally come from niche to norm.“
About the EU project SUNLIQUID
The goal of the SUNLIQUID project and its consortium is to demonstrate that the technology, based on Clariant’s sunliquid® process, to manufacture cellulosic ethanol on a commercial scale is ready and economically viable. Clariant is building a new commercial-scale production plant for cellulosic ethanol made from agricultural residues in Podari (Romania). Cellulosic ethanol is an advanced, sustainable, and climate-friendly biofuel. It is produced from agricultural residues, such as cereal straw, which is sourced from local farmers. The new facility will generate new green jobs, business opportunities and economic growth in this rural area. The project is a decisive step in introducing the innovative sunliquid® technology to the European market.
About Industrielle Biotechnologie Bayern Netzwerk GmbH (IBB Netzwerk GmbH)
IBB Netzwerk GmbH is a network and service organisation in the field of industrial biotechnology and sustainable economy. Its aim is to promote the implementation of valuable scientific results in these fields in innovative, marketable products and processes. IBB Netzwerk GmbH is a partner in the EU-funded project “SUNLIQUID” (Grant Agreement No. 322386). Further information can be found at https://www.ibbnetzwerk-gmbh.com/en/home/. The SUNLIQUID project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 322386.